Star Trek/ Philosophical Tangents – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Star Trek/ Philosophical Tangents

Gelato in Little Italy last night.

January 23, 2022

by drplasticpicker

I’m up at my regular blogging time now. It’s been a while. It’s pitch dark outside and the house is quiet. I have my matcha green tea soy latte in a Yeti Tumbler, a gift from the former regional chief of pediatrics for participating in a gun safety pilot program. It’s a long weekend for the kids and they have Monday off, and I somehow managed to remember to take that day off too. The Yeti Tumbler keeps my morning matcha green tea at the right temperature for longer, and there is some sweetness with some sugar – but much less than I used to drink with coffee.


Now you’ve seen my son’s feet.

October 26, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I hate the term Servant Leadership. Someone gave me the book entitled servant leadership. I never read it. I understand the concept. But you can’t hand someone who is rising in leadership who is a young woman and from a minority group who is part of the “model minority” and who is from an ethnic group that has been fighting imperialism for over a thousand years a book entitled “Servant Leadership” and expect me to thank you.

Indeed, I’ll tell them now emphatically and honestly “NO THANK YOU.” Indeed, I haven’t really read any leadership books yet I’m a leader? I’ve never read a book about how to be a daughter yet I’m a daughter? I’ve never read a book about how to be a mother, yet I’m a mother? I think this leadership journey of mine is working out just fine.

Indeed, I’m kind of busy cleaning up the earth right now and I don’t have time to read books that don’t naturally interest me if the earth doesn’t lead me there. I did read a good novel this weekend, and yes it was a romance novel and there was no bodice ripping! LOL. It was one of those tame Julia Quinn ones. Did you know she went to Crimson University too?

I had written some blogpost in the last week but took them down. They were well written but weren’t, how do you say it, helpful. But it helped to express my frustrations and now they are deleted.

And today I just wanted to say that I’m continuing to work for the earth and for children’s environmental health. Too many projects to explain them all here. If you want to know the nitty gritty, just join our committee at the American Academy of Pediatrics or San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air! I have to update on those venues anyway, so I don’t update everything here. One of our interns Riley Gilbertson and I are speaking at the San Diego City Council meeting on Wednesday and then we have a presentation on Thursday. We are working on a leaded avGas project. AvGas stands for aviation gasoline. In a sense, we want the propeller planes to stop passing leaded plane farts! LOL. That is hilarious. Let me try to make a funny graphic.

OMG this is so funny.

And that is all. I love this blog. It gets my creative juices flowing! LOL LOL LOL LOL.

And this is what my children really do in their new funny outfits.

Weird? It’s ok! Dr. Plastic Picker, mommy-approved. March to the beat of your own drummer people! Be no one’s servant!!!!
Yesterday’s trashart. I naturally organize by color and shape.

June 13, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It was such a lovely Saturday. I didn’t blog yesterday. I think that’s why the trashart was flowing yesterday. I’m still using bits and pieces of the ocean beach plastic from eco-services of Mission Beach Cathy fame. I combine it with winecorks donated by my real life friends and then “clean” trash from around the house. I think I must be thinking about Christmas, and also in general I tend to make happy wine-cork people.

But yesterday was really lovely when I sit and reflect on how things were. We did go shopping for our teen daughter’s best friend’s unbirthday present (inside joke) at Barnes and Noble, but I put back the single-use expensive gift bag. We instead wrapped it in the pretty paper the World Wildlife Federation sent us, and ribbon that was essentially “new” that has been in the house for many many years. I also had two books in hand, but I put them away at the last moment. I realize there are so many books at home I haven’t finished reading and these days I prefer my own thoughts and writing/blogging rather than other people’s voices in my head. I started rereading “You Are Here” by Thich Nhat Hanh which not surprisingly resonates with me since I was essentially raised within a philisophically Buddhist household that also practices what Westerners term “ancestor worship.” I am essentially a Westerner but I find the term ancestor worship inadequate. On one general information webpage writes, “The Vietnamese accept as a fact that their ancestors continue to live in another realm and that it is the duty of the living to meet their needs. In return, the ancestors give advice and bring good fortune.” It’s more like the ancestors are here. They are living spirits. Not acknowledging that they are here, is like having someone literally sitting at your kitchen stable and you don’t talk to them, acknowledge them, consult them or even feed them. It’s just rude. It’s not even really a religion, it’s just a reality. The ancestors are here literally right here. Why not ask their advice? Why not have them in your dreams help you fight your demons? Duh.


Pictures I sent to a dear colleague, when he asked me about urgent care staffing and that I had semi-fixed the system and delegated this task to someone else of the appropriate paygrade.

May 1, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I am still Assistant Boss. I still enjoy my job. I’ve been able to proactively change aspects of my job by going to the root cause of many middle management headaches and tweaking things. I have made my job easier and more appropriate for an MD and not a mindless hamster in the upper panel. I feel like the hamster in the lower panel. I’m ready to dive into the unknown waters, and not sure if I remember how to swim. I don’t really try to direct life, other than working to stop the headlong catastrophe of ecological collapse. I don’t worry about the what ifs and the endless tomorrows. I worry about our planetary future, but I’m sure enjoying the day to day part of life and how much I’m able to do just by being alive on this wondrous earth! One thing I know for sure, I will never be that hamster in the upper panel ever again. Trust me. I won’t and no one can make me because I’m free in so many ways. Free financially. Free mentally. Free from the colonial and misogynist mindset. Someone said something hurtful in an email, one of those little jabs that can destroy a woman leader after a million of them by small-minded people. And I replied back my truth and shined a mirror on that seemingly innocuous yet hurtful comment. But I did it in a clear-sighted and honest way. Just like if one litters in front of Dr. Plastic Picker, I’ll tell you that piece of plastic fell on the ground. It will hurt some living thing. And when I replied my truth and said lets move on, I felt very powerful and free.

I’m finishing the conclusion for our paper for the Journal of Applied Research on Children, and I am so proud of what we’ve done as an author group. It was a labor of passion and love. I think it will make an impact. Most importantly, it made an impact on us writing this piece together and collaborating. I had emailed our co-authors that this is one of the most meaningful projects I have ever worked on. We have decided to have Dr. Katie Durrwachter-Erno be first author partly because her section is first and partly because her name is unqiue and cathcy. We are tickled to be known forever moer as Durrwachter-Erno et al!!! I also finished inviting already inspired health professionals to the Eco-America Climate Health Ambassadors Training. That will be another 7-10 people I know activated or at least on their way. We are getting one of our colleagues from our Climate Change and Health Committee electred as AAP-CA3 Treasurer hopefully. Restarting efforts on the pharmaceutical waste project that will help ensure clean waters. The UCSD School of Medicine Civic Engagement Club is having their litter picking event soon, and the wonderful residents form the Kaiser Family Practice residents are going to go with them. I just have to buy the grabbers and I know where to get them at a discount. Hopefully high quality ones!

But with project after project complete, and making real progress in trying to save the earth – I still wonder at times about the future. I honestly have no further ambitions in middle management. I will finish my term which is two more years, and go where the organization needs me. I drank the HMO Kool-Aid years ago. But stepping off the figurative hamster wheel has been so liberating. What are Dr. Plastic Picker’s Plans for the future? Like the hamster in the lower panel – I honestly don’t know! But I’m so exicited about it! Maybe I’ll buy 20 acres in East County and turn it into a nature preserve and let anyone who wants to hike there hike there? Maybe I’ll start some business ventures and use some of the profits to further our environmental advcocacy? Maybe our premed interns who are absolutely phenomenal will have 100% acceptance rate to top notch medical schools? Maybe I’ll write a book about how 1000 bags of trash changed me, and go on a book tour and take a sabattical which the HMO owes me? Maybe I’ll finally get to drive cross country with Mr. Plastic Picker, but in an electric car and meeting my Durrwachter-Erno et al!!! friends along the way. Colorado, North Carolina, Puerto Rico. That would be an epic road trip. And maybe Mr. Plastic Picker and I will have our 20th wedding anniversary celebration next summer and we’ll invite everyone and dress like Vulcans and serve Vegan food. Yes the future looks wonderful. Get off the mental hamster wheel. Dr. Plastic Picker your assistant boss highly recommends it! Did you see the energy waves being sent to the white house? Was no one else suspcious?

Not sure if aliens are real, but this litte gopher at Rohr park sure is! Watch those little itty bit bits of plastic. It will go into his burrow where he lives!
This tree is common in our area. Others remarked how beautiful it is.

March 15, 2021

by drplasticpicker

When we did the film screening of Gather, the New York Times profiled film on indigenous food rights and the connections between environmental destruction and our food systems, the best part was actually virtually meeting Chef Nephi Craig. The film makes a wonderful depiction of his life’s work, but actually hearing him relate his professional journey – one realizes how much more nuanced and profound it is. He has a blog as well that I’m perusing now What resonated with me during the time he spent with us, was when he described coming back from Europe in 2009 and “crash landing on the reservation.” This is exactly the same time Mr. Plastic Picker and I left Boston and the Crimson University System with our two young children in our crisis moment, and came back to where I grew up, which is San Diego California.


Stark image during my evening plog.

February 16, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Yesterday was an epic climate advocacy day. Yes it was. Do you know what I did? [DRAMATIC PAUSE] I sat in front of my computer and sent emails. Yes I did. And it was an epic climate advocacy day. I am not being facetious.

Back in January, I had been invited to attend the National Children’s Health and Leadership Forum. The AAP National Leadership had signed the local chapter climate advocates up, and registered us. I just virtually showed up. But it was a very useful conference, as I was able to virtually meet person after person working on climate issues. There was a panel of speakers from the youth climate movements, who had organized the climate marches two years ago. What struck me is when they were asked about how they were able to mobilize and their activism, they were open and said that the reality of activism is that it’s a lot of sitting in front of the computer.


Closure so that one can accept a new ocean of new beginnings.

January 30, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Yoga continues to provide me with moments of bodily and emotional discovery. Last night I went to sleep just listening to the Ocean Waves Dark Screen YouTube Video, and it did help deepen my sleep. But the previous night I also did 10 minutes of Yoga by Adrienne and also the Ocean Waves Dark Screen YouTube Video – and I slept much more deeply. Good sleep is very important to have a clear spirit and mind.

Something Adrienne at Yoga by Adrienne said really struck me during one of the meditation YouTube videos. It was a series of simple stretches and meditation exercises toward the end of the day, and she said something along the lines of “embrace the close. The close of the day. And with the close, tomorrow you can accept the morning and a new beginning.” Maybe I made that up, but I could swear she was saying that directly to me. For no particular reason my thoughts started turning toward shifts in my professional life and other big life decisions. My thoughts turned to the two little toddler patients that had cancer that are intertwined in what had been a period of deep personal saddness for me, and whose story I have alluded to others several times and has been each time painful. And I realized that on multiple different fronts, I was ready to emotionally embrace the close.


Sometimes the best solutions are cheap.

January 28, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Thank you to everyone for the virtual and real sympathy yesterday after my adventures with Moderna #2. Now almost 48 hours post vaccination, I am better after 3 doses of tylenol 1000 mg. My body feels like it ran a marathon, just exhausted but refreshed after actually sleeping and Mr. Plastic Picker brought home Rubio’s fish tacos and the fish taco was very healing. Someone in high school once told me fish was brain food, and since then I always think that when I eat fish – even if it’s from a fast-casual place.

The sympathic messages were very appreciated and healing. Please text me if you need similar sympathy, as I’m happy to text back some encouraging messages now that I’m done with Moderna #2 post-vaccine experience. Many of my real MD friends are about to embark on their experiences. This is a common shared experience for us, which is relatively uncommon in general but so much more frequent since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

I have been thinking about frugality and the importance of being truly fiscally responsible. Yesterday as I was trying to make it through the day, I was alternatively moaning in bed without anyone to attend to me (Mr. Plastic Picker was at work, my usually attentive tween daughter was at blended school, my teen son doesn’t hear anything and he’s a teenage boy and I’m his middle aged mother, and my in-laws are hard of hearing) except our crazy poodle-mix puppy. I did rest in bed, which was good to catch a few extra hours of sleep. I did take some tylenol 1000 mg doses, because after the first time it brought relief – I said why not??!! and took two more doses as I’m confidant that my body is teeming with spike protein antibodies. Just half kidding. I did take a total of 3 doses in the 48 hours. But in between my delirious social media posts about generating your will as I was thinking about my own eventual demise, texting my friend Usa who is the troop cookie mom this year for more cookies, and passing out again on the bed – I did do several things that I know were very healing and they were very cheap. The most relaxing things yesterday that helped me feel fundamentally better were sitting outside in the sunshine for a bit, and watching the birds at our two bird feeders. I looked at my small little container garden to see where the onions, sweet pea plant and succulents were at in their journeys. And then twice yesterday I did a few yoga stretches, once in the afternoon on the artifical grass in the warm sun and last night before going to bed. I turned on ocean waves as well before I went to bed and I had a good nights sleep. And now I feel better.


From Chef Nephi’s WuTang Wednesday’s talk.

January 16, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’ve had an intellectual breakthrough in the last few months. Litter-picking and Instagram and Envrionmental Activism has led me to think more about the world and myself. We are all inter-related. Being presented with departmental problems that are unsolvable and then health systems issues that are unsolvable within the framework given to us, made me realize that it’s the framework itself/ the system itself that has to be redesigned or reimagined.

I’ve found a lot of intellectual growth watching Chef Nephi from the Western Apache Nation, and his efforts to solve substance abuse through food. Food is in this case is actually medicine. The whole process of food, the restoration of the land that it grows on, the cultivation, the cooking, the community that eats it, the actual recipes and the stories that surround the food. Having come from a community and family whose food traditions have stayed intact for centuries, I know in my fish-sauce infused blood that I am intertwined with the fish that I crave and the water that produces the fish. This is why the destructions of rivers and wetlands and oceans panics me more. I am a person that has been bred near a delta, and raised on food that comes from the rivers and the ocean.


Pretty little project near the coffee station.

December 29, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I’m just living my life. Living my blog life. LOL. I’ve been up since about 5am and had my first cup of coffee already. I’m naturally an early riser. Yesterday when I left clinic, I was already decently caught up on my charts and patient results. I will of course log in again today and clean things up. But this morning, I went through my actual personal inbox and attended to much of life things. Finished more board questions, and still have 10 more to do but I have 2 more days. Did a question on HIV testing, and remembered when we all were worried about an HIV pandemic in the early 2000s and it ended up being a COVID-19 and a plastic pandemic instead that threatens our common annihilation. This makes sense why we weren’t taking as much environmental action, because we thought HIV was going to wipe out the population. Who knew it would be plastic instead?

Thought about the upcoming Girl Scout meetings that is an Environmental Journey, and sent emails already to some women professionals who will be on a career panel, and I have a meeting set up to talk to our student Co-Founder of San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air later today. After we finish doing this youth education module for my daughter’s actual Girl Scout Troop, I’ll reach out to our council and make SDPCA available to speak to other troops if they need a professional speaker. Youth education is very important.

I was riding a high after the San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air website went live. But I know myself that everytime something really good happens and a goal has been accomplished, I have this transient unease that is the down after the high. I kind of was ready for it, and modulated it as my emotions were coming down yesterday. I was probably a bit irritable afterwards as my daughter and I spoke about the upcoming Girl Scout meetings. But after watching a few mindless innocent Amazon prime Christmas romance movies and sleeping last night, and then just having freedom to think and let my wind wander this morning – everything is better. Wow, the quiet does so much for one’s brain and spirit.

What Grew? What Didn’t? I thought it was a catchy title given the pretty picture. Girl Scout Troop. My own children. The children in our Children’s Art Council from the AAP. Our three premedical interns, Our one graduate student intern. Other MDs who are part of the two committees, AAP-CA3 Climate Change and Health and San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air. Dr. Plastic Picker website. SDPCA’s new website. Succulents in my makeshift container garden doing great. The parsley that got bug ridden because I watered it at night. The composter that I’m still learning how to master. I think it’s working but sometimes a mushroom pops up in there, and I need to add more kitchen scraps. What Grew? What Didn’t? I think it’s all kind of growing. All the seeds and little movements toward a greener world. I’m not too worried. It seems to be all kind of growing and isn’t that what a healthy ecosystem is, growth and decay, trial and error. My environmentalism is not orderly but than again neither is nature.

Gorgeous view in La Jolla I never apprecaited before. We’ll go on another hike again today because I’m actually OFF this afternoon and I’m master of my own time when I’m OFF, as we all should be. Plus our kids are on vacation.