Hopeful Wednesdays – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Category: Hopeful Wednesdays

Home-made pizza. Our daughter made. I didn’t fully appreciate it because I was too busy on AB345. I need to refocus on the kids.

August 5, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Yesterday was surreal. Dr. Plastic Picker waded into politics yesterday. Like many doctors, I have shied away from partisanship. But AB345 was too important to ignore https://drplasticpicker.com/yes-on-ab345-press-conference-today/. This bill would improve pediatric health by protecting schools from gas and oil drilling wells. I didn’t realize fully what a large impact this bill would have on overall climate change by reducing fossil fuel production within California. But I was and am focused on the kids. And for the kids, we made the statements that we had to make.

This is the text message I sent my colleagues who cosigned the letter in support of AB345.

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Reached my 20 for the month. Got to reuse an old doggy food bag.

Juily 29, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It was a good day yesterday. It’s funny most of my climate work wins I posted on my actual personal facebook. They were real wins, so I wanted to share with the real people I know. I finished the Climate Reality Leadership Training and have my “Green Ring” now. And yesterday Bruce Bekkar told me that I was “putting [my] passion forward in such a powerful way, right out of the Climate Reality Training” and one of the other AAP Climate Change and Health said “AMAZZZZING” with many Zs. Twelve of us here had cosigned a letter regarding oil and gas setbacks, which is this complicated legislative process of trying to protect poor communities from oil and gas drilling sites. And our AAP Climate Change and Health Committee met for the first time, and I had the biggest smile on my face. I looked at their beautiful faces and how could I not have hope? True organic real connections between people. That is what I am trying to foster. Even if we make wins (which we will), the big win is that we are connected to eachother. It’s funny how I truly live these pithy quotes I used to just breeze through on Instagram and Facebook, leaders create more leaders.

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Screenshot of this great quote, from “Story of Stuff Project.” Great account to follow for inspiration.

July 22, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s funny how one can read quotes and understand them conceptually, but until you experience that stage of destruction and growth than that is when you understand it viscerally. From great hardship and tragedy can come tremendous growth. What I wanted to add today, is that what enables one to grow and recover and be reimagined is connections, community, bonds and relationships with the other living lifeforms around us. There is a resiliency in being connected.

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A friend who drives this machine always waves to me.

July 15, 2020

by drplasticpicker

When I was a young pediatric resident, I would often watch the nurses go about their tasks and ask them questions. I would like to look at the IV setups that some doctors would just take for granted, and sit and figure out how the the saline in the saline bag which started high above the patient’s head on a pole actually flowed into the patient’s veins. I never wanted to be a nurse. But I always knew the details of their work was important to understand. I can appreciate someone’s role better when I know some details.

On Monday the staff lunches that were stored in the bottom drawers were oddly covered in coffee. It looked like coffee that had cream and sugar. My cold brew coffee was still secure in it’s mason jar and one of our nurse’s cold brew coffee that had creamer in it, was also secure. I pulled out the drawers and cleaned the food, and after a few minutes found the source. It was a half filled styofoam coffee with creamer on the top shelf that looked intact. But there was a small dent on the side. It was leaking. I found the source and cleaned it up.

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I ran to my spot this morning. It was after July 4th, and everyone was still asleep.

July 8, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I skipped last week and was sad about skipping last week’s Hopeful Wednesday post. I forgot what was actually going on that day, but there were more pressing things and it didn’t seem like the right thing to do. But today I am happy, because I had been preparing to write this post since last week and have been savings bits and pieces of good environmental news to share with you. It is the hump day of the week and we are in the middle of the the rising COVID-19 pandemic, but I wanted to give you glimmers of hope of a liveable future if we are able to imagine it.

Perspective is so important these days. I went out litter picking three times yesterday. The last litter pick was last night and I was a bit irate at Mr. Plastic Picker. He went out the front door with the puppy and I left out through the back door as I needed to get my metal grabber. We were supposed to meet at the corner, but I didn’t see him. Instead of being irate as was my initial reaction (does he love the puppy more than me?), I saw 3 monarch butterflies in the high tree top of our neighbors gorgeous front yard tree. I just stood there watching the butterflies for a moment. Then I spotted a green vaping pen across the street, and safely jogged across the street to retrieve it as I need another one for my next vaping trash art piece. I finished filling my one shopping bag and found 2 aluminum cans and headed home. Mr. Plastic Picker was actually the irate one when I got back to the house. The puppy had refused to go for her walk as she is still traumatized by the July 4th fireworks, but my dear husband went out looking for me and could not find me. I looked at his handsome Vulcan-like face and said, “but I saw 3 butterflies and a vaping pen for my trash art piece?”

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Vaping pen litter that will be used to finish my trash art today.

June 17, 2020

by drplasticpicker

One of the most powerful things that has happened to me during this journey of becoming Dr. Plastic Picker, is that I’ve been able to now reframe my tasks. I used to feel so busy, always so overwhelmed. Yet I wore that badge of busyness as a symbol of pride. But thinking of the world and plastic and litter and the earth and people as all interconnected, and then trying to figure out my place in decreasing the plastic and the litter and trying to help the world – has made me less busy and given me freedom. Picking up litter is the most empowering act because one chooses to pick it up or not. And knowing that it is a choice and it’s an act of benevolence and love for the earth, has spread that love to all other parts of my life. I think that is why I am happier now. This also enables me to reframe my previous onerous tasks in life as voluntary acts of love.

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First rendition of the anti-vaping trash art that I posted on Instagram.

June 10, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Yesterday I was at home like millions of other people, working remotely. I finished the Assistant Boss Leadership Manifesto and the end product was collaborative and well written. I reread it several times last night and there was only one minor error. My old undergraduate instructor Dr. Amy Slatton would have been proud https://drplasticpicker.com/blacklivesmatter-the-stain-of-slavery-colonialism-apartheid-extends-to-science/ and https://amyeslaton.com/. She always admonished me to edit edit edit. If you are a reader on this blog, you know that is not one of my strengths. I mostly finished the Girl Scout Financial Forms yearly submission. I always turn it in about a week late without shame. I think interacting with Girl Scouts management is the only time I ever pull the working mother card https://drplasticpicker.com/leadership-opportunities-are-everywhere-dont-just-go-to-the-blue-light-special/. I think my fellow Girl Scout Troop leaders and those at the central office are used to dealing with prima donna mothers and just humour people like me. It is all volunteer of course. And yesterday and this morning my sister is sad because one of her close friends has a very sick child going through complicated abdominal surgery. My sister is an empathic person. Likely in that pediatric intensive care unit that child is dying. I texted back to my sister what I hope was words of comfort. When a child is dying there are waves of grief to all those adults that surround that child, and all those adults that surround those adults. My sister is caught in that cocentric circle of grief.

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Our daughter was so excited about this book. Just published.

June 3, 2020

by drplasticpicker

My paternal grandfather told me something toward the end of his life that I will never forget. I believe I was actually in medical school already and home for a brief visit. By then he was already older and weaker, and had suffered one or two strokes. He was intermittently lucid but even for a beginning medical student I knew that he had dementia. But during one of those early morning visits when he was lucid he told me that he had returned to his home village at some point in the Southeast Asian country he had left unwillingly because of political ubheaval. At this point he was no longer a strong man in his mid 40s but likely in his late 60s. He said someone from the village offered him something that was morally repugnant for money. He had returned to the village to give help build a school. And he told me, his oldest granddaughter, with fierce convinction, “Until the day you die, you do not know if you have lived a good life.”

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My happy place.
I love love our house in Northern Virginia. Really nice pavers.

May 27, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It is almost the end of May and the third calendar month that we have been #shelteringinplace and #stay(ing)home. I talked to my sister yesterday and as a nonmedical person she gets frustrated that her neighbors are slowly breaking down those physical barriers, and may increase the spread of COVID-19. A friend traveling to a vacation area. Families now meeting in the backyard. While she holds the line because she has to make sure some important people remain protected. I’m the older sister who is a pediatrician, and I advised her to do what she knows is right. The world will do what it is doing, and we can’t stop the world from going what is it going through – but we should not accelerate it.

CNN and the major news outlets do not stress me out as much anymore. What is happening now in California is what we expected. We closed down early, and our rate of infections was slow. But now sandwhiched between the crazies in Orange County that are going to beaches without masks and our less medically equipped Southern neighbor Tijuana, of course our community will see an uptick in cases. We had thought through various prediction models and I think the Pediatric Infecitous Disease head had said also during one of the weekly lectures, that we should expect things to peak mid June. So here we are, rising slowly and peaking but slowly. We are not the travesty of New York City. But then people will get together like they did undoubtably like this last Memorial Day weekend, and there will be another peak. The second wave will come, and we are all just playing our bit parts.

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Bag #193!!! Recycled a can too. Can #249!

May 20, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I strained my hip flexors on Saturday morning. It was a semi-embarassing injury because the mechanism was relatively benign. I was getting ready for a quick plastic picking session at the beach, and was trying to leave early to avoid the COVID-19 crowds. But I sat down too quickly onto the hard concrete step and strained my left hip flexors. A weekend of rest and motrin helped, but it is still somewhat achy on the left. I’m not sure if I will need to use a cane today.

Wouldn’t that be the greatest irony? I’ve talked about sacrifice and being ready to jump into the COVID-19 fray. I’ve posted pictures on my personal facebook with me looking serious in an N95 and facemask and full PPE, and then I get sidelined due to a middle-aged musculoskeletal injury. Mr. Plastic Picker strained his back around the same time. At least we are injured together, and it actually keeps us more home-bound and less likely to get COVID-19. There is always a bright side of things. I am making us seem more middle-aged then we really are! Part of the character I create, but based on reality of course. Mr. Plastic Picker and I are thinking of starting a home yoga program together. I remember buying a DVD years ago from Costco, so will try to find it.

But it is Wednesday, and I was not sure if I would have any items for a Hopeful Wednesday post. I had thought I had skipped an entire month because hope has been rare these days. But looking back on the blogroll, I actually did write a Hopeful Wednesday post two weeks ago https://drplasticpicker.com/5-6-2020-five-reasons-to-be-hopeful-this-wednesday/. That was very reassuring. I am generally a happy person and it would worry me if I was feeling that hopeless for more than two weeks.

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