Sustainable Life – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Sustainable Life

My mother-in-law planted this a few years ago.

December 22, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s the week before Christmas. I’ve honestly been in a Korean-drama haze. I’m watching a lot of dramas but at the same time I’m learning so much more Korean and also reliving moments in my life as a daughter-in-law to a Korean family. I’ve tried to be a dutiful daughter-in-law and it has not been always easy, but watching the dramas and seeing the echoes of our own lives in the traditions that are explained is helpful to me. My children and my mother and everyone thinks I’m in drama overconsumption mode, but honestly this is something I need to do for myself to deprogram some of my thought processess that I had over the last two decades. I affirms many of my values that I’ve held close to my heart, but are continually questioned by others around me. I’m happy and it’s keeping me off social media mostly anyway.


If this isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is. LOL

December 6, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m totally going to get one of these! This one is an adult tricycle with off-road fat tires. I can get a helmet as well. There is a great street on our neighborhood where you can ride it straight to the beach. This makes so much sense, because our son needs a car soon for his senior year. I work remotely anyway sometimes. So he can drive my car and I can bicycle around our neighborhood to do errands. Everything is really close here.

It’s definitely not cheap. For the off-road fat wheels, it is $700. But this will keep me healthy and I like to get exercise by just living life rather than going to a gym. I used to love to run, but this is the perfecr cross training. I can ride to the grocery store and actually get substantial amount of groceries. Of course I will need to get a really good bicycle lock for this one.

We have room in our garage to store this bicycle because we got rid of things we don’t need. This I think we would use a lot. I may go to the bicycle rental place and just try to ride one (if they have this type) to make sure it is comfortable for me. I am so excited!!!

I am actually technically part of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition! So I am going to get a cycle, but the kind of “bicycle” I want. I always knew I wasn’t like other people. So excited!

So many years ago.

November 11, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I was virtually present at one of our Public Health Advsiory Council meetings for Climate Actions Campaign. That advocacy council is growing with plenty of help from other health professionals. I honestly think it might be time for me to step back as they are concentrated on very important local wins, but I’ve been asked to be part of state wide advocacy efforts within the AAP. I’m struggling a bit with that decision, and had a slight headache because of goodness-work overload. I had to take some motrin last night (which is rare) and quietly read a poem by Walt Whitman our son recommended.

But there were several moments at the meeting two nights ago, that were so powerful. My children are older, teenagers both now. The picutre above is my daughter at one of the moments when her littleness and beauty were so overwhelming to me. Where did the time go? How quickly have the years passed? Really all this climate work is for her and all our children. I check in with her to see if we as a family are doing okay. I was at volleyball last night and eventhough multiple work phone calls intruded into our time, we got through it and I was there to drive her. She was okay with it, and we had a very nice dinner all four of us. If dinner ran a bit later into the call, I would drop that call. But it worked out. We got to volleyball, got to dinner, and I got to that last call – without the sense of rushing.

But there was a moment when my friend Dr. RA was also calling into the call and her daughter said in this beautiful small voice “Come into the light mommy, come into the light.” Dr. RA was standing in the dark in front of the house, trying to patch into the advocacy call. And her daughter beckoned her into the warmth of the family. I saw my friend Dr. RA the next day, and I told her that moment was so beautiful. She also I know is doing this work, standing in the dark in front of her house for her children and all the children that she takes care of.

Just one of those moments, and so many climate and health advocates are physician mommies with young children. “Come Into the Light Mommy, Come Into the Light.” The voice of our children beckoning us home.

Puzzle our teen daughter and I finished Sunday.

November 8, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s daylight savings and I never have really understood the entire concept. The chaos that it causes doesn’t really affect me anymore, because my body is in rhythm with the sun and moon and I get up at the same planetary time. The amount of darkness while I’m peering out of our energy efficient glass doors into the backyard is about the same. It’s starting to get light outside a bit. Everyone is asleep except my in-laws as they too are usually up early like I am to take advantage of the quiet.


Reused two bread bags, but it was kind of an epic bag.

October 18, 2021

by drplasticpicker

How many blog post have I written? Let me check. [PAUSE]. WOWZER!!! 619 blogposts. Equal to the number of our area code! 569 bags of trash in total yesterday. I was worried I was behind on my 20 bags a month I promise to the earth, but there was enough left over midnight revelry beach plastic on Saturday morning to justify a 4 bag credit. There was a broken boogie board which is made of styrofoam! I tossed that before it broke up into a bazillion pieces! Two pizza boxes from Mr. Moto’s Pizza, and those pizza plastic triangular table that goes in the center. I didn’t even know they make those anymore? I wonder how much Mr. Moto’s Pizza is? Wow, $21 for a NY style fancy pie. Dr. Plastic Picker’s Pizza cost less than $1 if you make your own homemade dough. I did buy some frozen cauliflower crust pizza on Costco because it was on sale. It’s just for the kids when they are inudated with homework and I might have a work meeting that goes late on Tuesday. But usually we make our own pizza now.


Propogated succulents that I gave out yesterday. Most repurposed things. The kids loved them.

October 2, 2021

by drplasticpicker

The San Diego Union-Tribune videographer was looking for me. Well, they were actually looking for San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air. While I’m not SDPCA, and indeed this wonderful thing that has become SDPCA is my brainchild – it really belongs to all of us . In my heart, I know that. It can’t belong to me, it has to be a group endevaor and no egos/ no show-boating, and that is the only way we grow and we #fightfor1point5 . So when my colleauge asked if I wanted to speak with them or needed to speak with them, I know there is so much to do and we divide and conquer. I told her that I’m good. She speaks for all of us, and just reviewed important developments that the San Diego Union-Tribune may want to know. I know things will go well, and this person in our group is eloquent and passionate and committed to climate and health.


Climate Leader Gathering, Everyone here is choosing to do a lot.

August 30, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I made two robot like trash-art people. They are super interesting. Check out my instagram @drplasticpicker if you actually want to see them. They are made from interesting bits of non-recyclable plastic that I found around the house. Mr. Plastic Picker’s small fancy box that his new annoying watch-buying collection came in. The two spouts from to-go coffee carafe that I tried to save from years ago. Nerf gun bullets repurposed into robot eyes. And the plastic carrying handle from the non-coffee breakfast drink almond/walnut mix that I occassionally get from the Korean market now. It all came together as two robots. And on an early Monday morning. I wonder if it means anything? LOL.

I didn’t blog this weekend. I actually didn’t do much of anything purposeful this weekend, other than go to the Climate Leader Garden Gathering on Saturday night with our Public Health Advisory Council. I dressed up fancy, but didn’t really worry about how fancy – if that makes sense. I just wanted to make sure Mr. Plastic Picker and I showed up. We had so much fun. Climate leaders and especially their spouses are really fun to hang out with. We networked and made real human connections with friends that had been mostly virtual.


A dear patient family gave me the wooden calendar blocks, to help me remember the day.

August 24, 2021

by drplasticpicker

This beautiful wooden date blocks was lovingly given to me by a patient’s family. This is to help me remember what day it is. It pictures very well on Instagram too! It was so kind of them. It really was. Yesterday was the first clinical care day after 1.5 weeks of vacation. Most of that vacation was home, but I we did have that wonderful trip to San Francisco. It was so nice to see my patients again, and I reconnected with a few families I had not seen in a while. I met a nice new family as they are embarking on this adventure called parenthood. I missed a call from another parent, who I will try to call again today. I was able to stop by the HMO coffee shop to get the coffee grounds. It was 7.6 kg of coffee grounds. Our HMO patients were drinking a lot of coffee yesterday! It’s all in the composter now.

Our aerobin400 hard at work.

It’s 645AM and it’s a work at home day. I have our middle management meeting today. I need to actually listen to the COVID lectures really carefully now, and review all the American College of Immunization Practice updates well. I’m responsible for signing all the immunization orders in our entire organization now. I need to pivot and be more detail oriented, but I don’t mind relearning that skillset. I was an endocrine fellow at some point, and we were if anything but detail oriented. The devils is in the details.

And this week on my OFF time it’s all Green Team for the HMO (which is actual real HMO work that I’m doing for free) and meetings for practice runs on two big presentations. I don’t mind though and actually excited about those tasks because vaccines and climate work and healthcare sustainability practice is now my focus. Thank you for following along. I truly appreciate it. Just blogging and writing a bit every morning clears my mind and helps me figure out what I need to do with life. I have time these days because we just decided not to buy things we did not need. It frees a lot of mental space and time. For exampled, the used uniform sale at school ws 45 minutes and done. The entire process of buying uniforms for our kids was usually $700 (versus $70) and take weeks of agonizing.

Our daughter found everything she wanted without hurting the earth.

And that is it!

Our compost is really good. Filled with worms that came from, I don’t know where?

August 9, 2021

by drplasticpicker

If you have the opportunity to stop by our front and back garden, you will see proof that our family lives a regenerative life. The cherry tomatos in front are sweet and spilling over their cages. The tomatos in the back are perfectly shaped and ripening on their vine, and are sweeter than any medium size tomato I promise you’ve ever eaten. We have little eggplants the size of your palm, because that’s the size they are supposed to be. The squash that we grow, their leaves that spill over from the planters fuel those beautiful gourds. Every last bit is used to make a savory plant-based dish. Peppers are growing. We have fennel for the first time. The bounty that is our life is beautiful and I am grateful for each piece of edible fruit and vegetable that comes from our garden.

And the bounty that is this year is due to compost. Above is the picture of our compost yesterday that I helped my mother-in-law harvest. We spent the weekend on and off replanting fruits trees, blueberry bushes and succulents from the rooftop garden. The rooftop garden is too harsh. Nothing lives up there. Those plants needed to be rescued. To me it’s somewhat a metaphor for my career. The HMO parking lot structure is also a too harsh climate. It’s been hard to get anything to grow up there. There are other HMO denizens trying. I have a couple of succulents still alive. But I’m about to give up on the HMO parking structure planters. I’m about to give up on the roofdeck garden.

But in trying to plant on the HMO parking structure harsh rooftop planters and my own windy roofdeck, I’ve learned a lot about plants and myself. I did grow something and I did sequester some carbon into the soil. But I’m shifting gears and going to try to grow plants in my family’s balcony North Park office. There is a balcony that is somewhat neglected that I think could use some plants and some love. It will bring happiness to people who I actually know, and hopefully bring them some wellness.

Replanted succulents.
Gifted cuttings from my sister-in-law. Replanted in pretty vases.
Excited to see them grow.
It looks unkempt, but things are growing.

June 15, 2021

by drplasticpicker

The top of the tall parking structure is this harsh environment. It’s hot up there with all the concrete, and the wind makes in inhospitable. It’s hard to grow anything there. I think the spinklers were turned off over a decade ago during the last drought. I had heard about the empty planters there, but at some point during my wanderings around the HMO clinic building trying to figure out life and getting exercise, I wandered up there.

It’s easy to throw out the idea that trees should be planted there. Likely if there was money and labor, I could have done in quicker. But when I started, I didn’t know what I was doing and getting permission would have taken an act of congress. So I just would exercise and cleaned out some of the lingering plastic and coffee cups and litter folks had tossed into those containers over the years. Instead I brought leftover food scraps, hay and yes bunny poop. We have two bunnies and I always knew that the ubiquitous bunny poop is good for soil. That is before we started composting at home. After the Aerobin400 has been doing it’s magic, I brought the actual compost to the planters too. It’s a good hike from my desk to the parking garage and up the steps. But I’m greeted by a beautiful view of our area, and I go visit the plants. I make it a game to myself and can also mostly use repurposed things. So when there is wilted salad in the fridge or lunchtime orange peels, I bring that up. I did that about a year ago. Now I bring proper compost because I want the entire regenerative process to go faster. I’m getting a little impatient.