Our Tween/Teen – Page 2 – Dr. Plastic Picker
 

Category: Our Tween/Teen

Art Installation by Christine Nguyen, artists I did not know about.

March 20, 2021

by drplasticpicker

We were at Casa Romantica as the last stop on our brief but much appreciated and much needed OC vacation. We were mostly there to look at the Native Pollinator Gardens, the Monarch Way Station and the views, but the kids surprisingly wanted to wander into some of the historic rooms. And when we did, we saw this beautiful art installation by artist Christine Nguyen. https://www.christinenguyen.art/public-art

Our last name is so common, and I was surprisingly delighted to see it so prominent in such a public sapce.

The piece is indeed beautiful and I will enjoy getting to know her art more, now that I’ve found her webpage. But I was intrigued by her last name which is as Vietnamese as they come and prominently displayed against the very white walls of a very established cultural institution in Southern California.

What does this have to do with #STOPASIANHATE which is now trending on social media? I haven’t commented on this at all on my personal nor eco-avatar social media sites. I was trying to figure out why I didn’t have a visceral reaction to the hashtag or needed to adopt it. Neither did Mr. Plastic Picker who is actually Korean, and indeed was a Korean citizen until medical school right before our marriage. I was born an American citizen, my mother having popped me out on American soil after having been pregannt in refugee camp. So I can become President of the United States of America if I wanted. Not Mr. Plastic Picker. And I did mention to him years ago that he should become a citizen before we got married, so that I would know he was not marrying me for my citizenship.

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Picture I took yesterday of our daughter’s sand drawing.

March 13, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I took this picture yesterday. It was a sand drawing my daughter did. We had both been home virtually working, she at school and me with work (work work and climate work). We had both had been sitting at our computers from morning until about 3pm. I was also working on our refinance paperwork, which is time-consuming (I find fun) but very detail oriented to get all the right paperwork to the lender. Our tween was finishing up her last day of school and giddy about approaching spring break and having an entire week off. Eventhough we were both home and I had made kinda vegan muffins with dried plums and an overripe mango (which was surprisingly good!) for breakfast, by 3pm we were both irritated. A just menarchal and almost menopausal (just kidding, I have a few more years) daughter and mother pair that are irritable is not a good combination. Our tween daughter had the previous night learned that her National History Day entry into the Individual Documentary Category had won at the Middle School Grade 6-8 category at the San Diego County Level and she is moving onto State. She was excited and proud, but toward the end of the day she realized that she would have to spend some of her school break editing her documentary on Mahatma Ghandi. This is the burden of trying to to do more. There is always more to do.

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Left Over Food Some Random Person Gave My In-Laws.

March 8, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s crunch week for the kids. Our son has four finals this week and he is in the inbetween area for several classes. It’s stressful being a sophomore high school student. These are all honors and AP Classes, and it was his choice to take them. Mr. Plastic Picker is somewhat stressed about this week, and it spills over to me. All in all, our son is going through something every teen should go through. He seems more relaxed then he really is. I created him in my womb so I know. It definitely is that crunch time and he feels it. My job is to make sure he gets to bed on time, and is eating nutritious food. He asked for a new video game, and Mr. Plastic Picker bought it for him. I put my mommy foot down and told him no video games until he is done with finals. Sometimes my husband who is usually really smart is not so smart. I might rename myself Dr. Common Sense at some point. But then he definitely can’t be Mr. Common Sense.

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My son. Home from cross-country.

February 12, 2021

by drplasticpicker

My siblings and I met virtually for various family reasons and the subject came up on how much do you give your children? It’s funny how life has taken each of us in different directions but our core values are the same. For those that are given much, much is to be expected. That much is what one contributes to the world. Yes, we don’t want to end up like societal leeches that accomplish little like the Trump children and the teen children from all those reality shows that are just horrible with ennui so early in life. But also in terms of material wealth, you should leave them something but not too much. Money should certainly give one security in case there is a grandchild or family member with some unexpected medical condition that needs long-term care, but otherwise money too early or the knowledge there is a pot at the end – will take away one’s chance to earn one’s place in the world.

What is earned is so much more valuable than what is given. The picture above is my son from the back, home from Cross-Country. He is proud to wear the jersey every sports season because he earns it from running 3-7 miles a practice. Those are real miles run, foot to the dirt. Pounding that he voluntarily subjects his body to. It’s part of growing up and this is why sports for so many kids is character building. It truly isn’t about how fast one is or how you place. It’s the journey, and the miles run.

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Purchased bird house.

January 4, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I had baked 4 potatoes and 2 sweet potatoes last night. The house was cold and Mr. Plastic Picker was bringing home some Rubios. We mostly try to cook at home but some days are harder than others, and when my tween daughter becomes irritated at me – I tend to give in and just order out. Over the holiday we only ordered out 3 times over two weeks. That is pretty good. Last night was one of those nights. Our kids are doing very well, and I’m inordinately proud of them. I do realize the irony of it all. I used to think I was pretty hot stuff when I was younger, Crimson University grad and all. Now in my mid 40s I was annoying my tween who is an ex-preemie, who literally was trying to read excerpts of her Ghandi book as I was watching a romance movie on Amazon Prime. Earlier in the evening she was annoyed at me because we went jogging together and I couldn’t keep up, and after about 12 minutes asked if I could walk and pick up trash and she could finish running (she runs cross country). And then the Girl Scout project that we’ve been organizing together, she spent a good amount of time organizing it for the troop and is going to present a beautiful program today. Whereas I just cut out some slides from my previous Climate Change and Clean Air talk to the UCSD PRIME HEq program, and recorded what I thought was a half-hearted talk on Pediatric Health and Clean Air.

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Wow. Who knew we had so many board games?

January 3, 2020

by drplasticpicker

I spent the last week decluttering the house. Well, not actually decluttering but rearranging and trying to find more space. It all started when my younger brother had a leather office chair almost new that he passed down to me, and a shoe rack. I showed the picture of the chair to the kids, and they both wanted the chair. So began, this round robin of shifting furniture and decluttering to find out where that chair fit into our lives.

The chair ended up in my room, because the back is a bit too extended for the kids’ comfort. For now with a large body pillow draped behind it, it’s the perfect ergonomic position for me. My chair ended up in my daughter’s room, as she had always liked my office chair. Then her chair ended up in the game room built-in office space, and that chair ended up back in our master bedroom where I was trying to create a reading nook/yoga space. Then I realized that the large fancy leather Costco Euro-Lounger in our bedroom reading area should go into the Game Room. The bunnies were permanently moved from the Game Room onto the adjacent balcony that has a weatherized hutch. They have a huge space out there, and I have no guilt about permanently moving the two thriving bunnies outside.

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First Christmas Hike.

December 26, 2020

by drplasticpicker

It’s not too late to create your traditions. The holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) were always a painful time of year for Mr. Plastic Picker and myself. It may have been for you as well. When we lived in Boston and had our son, we were still immersed in the university life and still trainee physicians. We had the MDs but not the salary nor the marketable skills, nor the scheduling freedom. Little did we know that scheduling freedom is really a mythical unicorn and does not exist. But every holiday the grandparents would disappear from Boston to New York City, as Mr. Plastic Picker’s sisters were in New York with their chaotic lives and the chaotic cousins.

On the holidays if one of us was actually off, someone would stay home with our then one child. If either was working, we sent our son with his grandparents to be with the chaotic cousins. I remember distinctly this one Thanksgiving when he must have been about two, when we both had Thanksgiving off and the grandparents were gone. We lived in a very small apartment and of course we didn’t know how to cook yet. Free Thanksgiving Dinner was provided by Crimson University at a select number of dining halls and we went to Adams House. This was Mr. Plastic Picker’s old undergraduate House at Crimson University. Honestly the dinner , although well made and delicious, was always kind of sad. Crimson University for all it’s glory was still a faceless institution, and we sat there eating with our toddler son as graduate advisors with a roomful of other sentient beings living their lives and really wishing to be with others that were not us.

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Beautiful image only my daughter could have taken.

December 11, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Yesterday was kind of a mediocre day (or so I thought). I had done a lot of work in the morning when I was up at 430am, sending emails and sorting out the premed interns and their work. But no special baking projects in the morning. I went to work and tried to see patients, and spent time with them in a fundamentally real way and tackling issues about food and diabetes and true wellness. Trying to practice the way I think I ought to practice, and not what the modern heatlhcare infrastructure tells me how I should practice. I was also trying to dodge COVID-19 and was upset for one moment when Nurse L wasn’t wearing an N-95 for a patient that had a parent that was positive at home. It was a scary moment for me, as I really do care about him. He was masked and had a face-shield on, and it was for a very brief moment. I had made sure he was not in the room with high risk patients longer than necessary.

I really like them.

December 9, 2020

by drplasticpicker

This blog has always been about helping us live a more sustainable life. I had a particularly creative day yesterday making four mini-figurines partially from gathered ocean plastic waste. I had made them during one of our middle management meetings, along with a tofu container turned soap dish, an iPhone cradle (actually two), and a robot with a plastic brain. I was really pleased with myself and sent pictures of my mini-figurines to everyone and posted in everywhere on Facebook. I got some reactions from folks, and hopefully raised some awareness about plastic waste. I was creative at breakfast and sauteed some bell peppers and placed it in a warmed pita bread with a bit of real mozarella cheese for our teen son. I used to give him so many Eggos, and it is satisfying to give him something wholesome, vegetable-filled and non-processed after all these years.

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Piano.

December 8, 2020

by drplasticpicker

Lots of thoughts this morning. Figured out why I’ve had some long-standing thought patterns about working-mothers versus stay-at-home mothers, and it has nothing to do with my fellow mothers. Like most working mothers, I’ve had some resentment of stay-at-home mothers who is actuality don’t really exist. There are very few fully stay-at-home mothers. It has to do with a little bit of resentment I had when I was eight-years-old. I started working at my father’s accounting office at 8 years of age, helping in the family tax business. We all worked and helped from 8-14 years of age, and also at my uncle’s All-You-Can-Eat Chinese Buffet (eventhough we weren’t Chinese). Soon after that I began doing a lot of extracurriculars in high school and worked in research labs afterschool. The entire time one of my male cousin was living a more idyllic life and had piano lessons, surfing, and never really worked. I had really wanted to be on the soccer team, but who was going to drive me to soccer? But now I realize I am who I am because of those early experiences. Indeed I think my college or medical school essay was exactly on that topic of hard work. My cousin is now a cosmetic dental surgeon and has a younger former beauty-pagent wife with three kids who all sing. He is an upstanding citizen and who am I to judge his life? I am a pediatrician and Assistant Boss and married the college sweetheart who probably could have been in a beauty pagent if there had been one for men back then, and I am an environmental advocate who picks up litter. I have two kids, and that they are alive and healthy – as a pediatrician I know that is the greatest gift of all. But I resented him when I was eight years of age, and some of it was probably because he was a boy and in our culture boys got everything. Eventhough I was top of my highschool class, by mere virtue that he was a boy everything he did was oooh and aaahed about more. I’ve since set aside that resentment, as I realize it was a byproduct of a useless patriarchal cultural system that I no longer adhere to. Now I know why I didn’t marry someone of my own actual national identity. Wow.

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