Sustainable Life – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Sustainable Life

Matcha Green Tea from Costo. Now $20 from $15 but SOOOOOO Worth it!

July 24, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I was feeling sorry for myself the last blog post. Thank you for the blog sympathy. I realized I hadn’t been blogging much and on the blog timeline, it must seem like I’m wallowing in my own self-pity of being a lone litter picker trying to save the earth. Underappreciated, hence the title of the last blogpost That is untrue and I wanted to correct any misconceptions about the length of my self-wallowing.


Blooming succulent, so happy.

February 26, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

I worked last night the staggered shift. 25 patients evenly spaced out in 20minute appointment slots. No longer the triple booked patients at 6pm and leaving at 930pm and overeating at night at 10pm. Pneumonias and bilateral ear infections. I had to order a fair number of antibiotic prescriptions yesterday. It almost felt normal, pre-COVID pandemic like. One of my work colleagues reminded me that I had come up with the idea of the “Happy Hour Shift” and indeed that was what started it all. Fixing a broken scheduling template that would garner so many complaints and predisposed doctors and nurses to make errors. There was no conceivable way to see three patients in the same appointment slot.

But people forget, and as life improves – they often forget what was the catalyst. Indeed, I had forgotten – but then this work friend who is not in our department, reminded me.

This change was good for me as well, and I fought for the sane scheduling system with my own family’s well-being in mind. It was a long day, but I had time to walk up to the #guerillagardening project at my “lunch” hour which was at 2pm. I walked and looked at the plants I had planted there almost 2 years ago.

Blooming now.

It’s all growing and thriving now. I had to put in effort at the beginning. But now, the natural rainfall and once or twice a month watering from saved bathwater from my own house – is enough. It took me courage to fight for those changes in the schedule. It took creativity. It took rationality and a mind that thinks clearly. There are some minds that are so chaotic that threatened to make all of our lives intolerable.

But rather than dwell on the those forces I had to counter, I focus on the growth I see. I focus on what is beautiful and what has worked. And this plant was the first one that proved to me that in the desolate area of the upper parking garage planters that had been abandoned for decades – something beautiful could grow.

It’s os happy and chaotic.
Lettuce growing in the cracks of our front walk-way pavers.

February 15, 2022

by Dr. Plastic Picker

If the above picture is not the personification of environmental-cool, I don’t know what is. Our front yard is this beautiful crazy edible garden powered by our composter and gardening-love mostly from the grandparents. And we have lettuce growing inbetween the cracks of our pavers.

The rouge lettuce in context of the larger garden.

I find gardening metaphors are so powerful. I gave away four succulent plants I had been growing for a while up on our roofdeck. Nothing new, all upcycled but grown with love. Those four small planters were lovingly received by four families yesterday. Two families I knew well, and two that were new to me.

Another shot of the garden.

Trying to live a sustainable and upcycled life, has brought so much growth for me personally and to my entire family. I really don’t worry about the next anymore. For work I have to give another presentation, and it’s in front of an audience that I don’t necessarily enjoy talking in front of. When you truly work together closely, there are scars within departmental relationships. But as I was conceptualizing this talk, I realized not worrying about the next and finding joy in unexpected growth – lifted a dark cloud that used to surround me. I haven’t had tension headaches in years now, and the professional anger and resentment are gone. Knowing that I don’t know the answer, and really just to focus on the present. The current project I’ve been working on. The person who is standing in front of me (whether it be patient, family or collueage). Unexpected growth, rogue lettuce that we’ll eat – brings me so much joy. And realizing we just have to work toward the end we want, and we are all on the same wave and we as a people will land where we land – is so freeing.

Me being a bird of prey. Owls too eat meat.

February 8, 2022

by drplasticpicker

I don’t feel guilty much these days. Mothers and doctors, we tend to blame ourselves for everything. Our own child gets a B+ in a class, our fault. Our child has plagiocephaly from the back to sleep campaign, our fault for not recommended strongly enough tummy time. The climate crisis, our fault for not having enough money to buy a Tesla. But after you realize the true villains that caused the climate crisis – you will stop feeling guilty. Vaping company CEOs – villains. Fossil fuel companies who knowingly still push pro-fossil fuel policies – villains. People who litter knowingly and with darkness in their heart when they do that act of littering – villains. Me? Not a villain!

But I do somewhat feel villainous when I blatantly made the best Instapot chicken soup out there. It’s hard not to feel guilty when you are an environmentalist and hang out with vegans all day. But we are plant-based, not vegan, and I made chicken soup with a game hen and it was so delicious. I now realize after putting in an Ecosia search that a game hame is essentially a chicken that is a toddler, and I feel even more guilty.


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.