Trash Art – Dr. Plastic Picker

Category: Trash Art

My trashart from yesterday.

September 12, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Part of the wonderful thing about blogging is that it just gets my creative juices flowing in the morning. We had some HUGE climate wins this weekend. To the extent that I could hardly believe it. I had to roll up in a fetal position with happiness that it all got done. I am but a bit player in all of this, but an active bit player. I know I have a ripple effect on it all.

Harvard University has a $42 billion dollar endowment. I will no longer say Crimson University. I went to Harvard University. I am no longer ashamed (I wasn’t really ashamed but it leant an air of mystery to the whole thing when I started this blog). There was a grass-roots alumni movement called Harvard Forward, led mostly by young alumni that worked to displace the old-fogey Board of Directors with younger more climate conscious board members who would vote to divest from fossil fuels. Through alumni networks, we all mobilized to get our alumni friends to do write in votes. I can say for two weeks I worked every connection I had. This was true throughout the country, as we all canvassed our friends. It happened. Even Mr. Plastic Picker voted. Harvard divested it’s $42 billion dollar endowment from fossil fuels. We donate yearly to the University.


Trash art person. Happy with itself.

September 5, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’ve been thinking about eating disorders or disordered eating a lot. After decades of being a pediatrician, I think I’m beginning to understand. I had a dear patient come in last week for likely our final visit and she related to me her experience recently with anorexia, and we talked frankly about treatment and causes and her impression. I learned more from my patient than I’ve had from the textbooks in years.

There is this look that I’ve seen time and time again. It’s this look during the first initial visit when usually the mother brings the teenage girl and we broach the subject the first time. In this case, I’m usually the pediatrician who has cared for said teenage girl since prepuberty and now into this rocky time in adolescence. There is this look that the daughter gives the mother, as the mother is relating to me her concerns. The mother is usually standing rigid and seemingly in control, but I feel like she’s usually a glass statue about to shatter. She gets this gaze that eventhough she is talking to me, the mother is actually not looking at me – but looking at someone else. I’m a stand-in for the entire medical system at that point. The mother relates her concerns usually controlled with undercurrent of repressed emotion. And the daughter. The daughter has the look. The look when the mother has shushed her, and the daughter has stopped talking. She just looks at her mother from a teenaged body but the eyes of a young child, with repressed and unshed tears. And the daughter does not say anything because she’s been shushed. But her eyes say a lot. And I always think to myself the eyes say, “notice me. look at me.” And by me, I mean not the physical form me but whatever the “me” inside who is hurting.


My trashart last night after finding out I did not get moved to the next round of the regional position. Happy and eyes wide open.

August 27, 2021

by drplasticpicker

In times of great emotion or confusion or happiness, I make trashart. I know it’s weird but it’s true. Last night I made this from bits and pieces of plastic from our lives. The bottle caps are from the two Izzy bottles our kids drank during our San Francisco vacation. The winecorks are from @donttrashmissionbeach famous litter picker fame. I’m almost through all the bits and pieces she dropped off at our house. Most I recycled or had to go into the garbage. I saved most of the winecorks. And most of the “head” of this trashart piece is from the packaging from the new headphones Mr. Plastic Picker purchased for me. Most the packaging was cardboard and recyclable but not the handle part.


Our trash art piece perched atop a rescued plastic plant.

August 15, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Joey Potter was right in Dawson’s Creek. She told Dawson during the last season, as he again had an existential crisis about the meaning of his work as a teen soap drama writer – what has he accomplished? Joey looks at Dawson (although she ends up with Pacey Witter – HUNKY DREAM BOAT) that as a writer he is lucky, he gets to live life twice. And that is true on this blog as well. I get to live life twice, and have these blog memories to revist that give me so much joy.


Yesterday’s trash art.

August 6, 2021

by drplasticpicker

My sister is in town. We are finally catching up as a family and it’s good to spend time with my niece and nephew. Kids really do grow up too fast. But one of the wonderful things about being Dr. Plastic Picker and sleeping better, eating more vegetables, and generally living life in the moment – is that time has actually slowed down for me. My life is fundamentally different. My brain is rewiring back into a slower dimension. And when life is at a slower pace you can smell the parsley.

I took my sister on a tour of the front garden, back garden, balcony garden and my not as successful roofdeck garden. We ate tomatoes that were so sweet. I showed her the baby watermelons and tried to name all the plants. I pulled some parlsey and had her smell it. It was a very strong smell. Parsley is an herb and we probably have too much of it.

Now that I’m three weeks without coffee, I noticed that I generally snack less. I think it’s because I’m not always having something 2-4 times a day that has extra sugar in it, and Mr. Plastic Picker thought that added sugar probably spiked my insulin up and then that in turn would bring my blood sugar down – and then I would want to snack. This is absolutely true and I remember learning this in endocrine fellowship.

I’m saving a lot of money as well since coffee is not cheap. Even at the HMO coffee shop a soy latte would be $2-3 a piece, and then Dr. Dear Friend and I would alternate who would buy the coffee. I’m still collecting the coffee grounds from the HMO coffee shop.

And the other thing I notice is that there are so many different kinds of tea that are everywhere. My own house I have probably enough tea to last me at least two years. At the office, there is a line of different teas in the nurses room that is up for grabs when I need a bit. I tried matcha tea yesterday and put just one little packet of sugar and it was an interesting drink. I’m still drinking some caffeine but it’s nothing compared to the lattes before.

So life is slow and meaningful these days. I was afraid my creativity would wane without the coffee, but I made a little trash art friend yesterday from nerf gun bullets that had been reclaimed. We had a really great meeting with the HMO Green Team. And yesterday I just turned off work and spent time with my sister and niece and nephew. That was a big success for me. I just turned it off because I was OFF and I needed to reconnect with my life and family. I truly hope you do the same with yours. What is more important than family?

My creativity is back! Little trash art guy.
Took apart an old J Crew Dress shirt for tags and made some trashart too.

July 4, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Despite the expression on my trashart winecork friend, I actually had a really nice day yesterday. Most of the day was taking our oldest and myself down to the HMO clinic where I work. It’s further than other offices from our home, but since I work there I prefer to go to where I feel most comfortable. We had a very nice visit with a new optometrist to our group. She was very nice, and around my age. Just joined up, and asked me how long I had been working at our HMO. I told her honestly, “twelve going on thirteen years” and each of those years I have been grateful for.

Anyway, we both got our vision evaluated and ordered glasses. Our son got two pairs and I got one pair. It was fun watching him while he did not know I was watching him – select two frames. He chose two hipster like frames, one square and one round and made plenty of funny faces at himself in the mirror. The only thing Mr. Plastic Picker and I get for having two physicians as part of our medical group, is that we do get double vision coverage. So our son got two pair of glasses. My prescription is so high and I need all those fancy things they provide, that I got one pair. It was a fun experience, and we went to Home Depot afternoon. I bought mulch to hopefully spread around my HMO guerilla gardening project. It was only $3 but I’m hoping it will help keep the succulents alive. That’s what one of my Instagram litterpicking friends said.


This morning’s trash art.

July 3, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Good morning everyone. I am so happy to be on this earth with you. I truly am. I hope my trashart this morning makes you smile, and shows you how much love there can be in the world – that all creatures are beautiful. We are so lucky to be alive. I am lucky to be the human me, the doctor me, the mommy me, the wife me, the environmental activist me, and even the middle-management me (despite my ranting yesterday LOL).

More views of my new friend.

What I love most about this trash art piece is that it incorporates that ubiquitous corner of the the kettle corn chicka boom popcorn bags Mr. Plastic Picker buys. We are not plastic free at our house, although we have made great strides in our waste reduction. Yesterday was a particularly good day because I talked to an FBI agent, and that agent brought some more closure to a patient case that were lingering in my mind and I closed all my charts. I CLOSED ALL MY CHARTS!!! Now that is something to celebrate indeed.

Coffee grounds from the HMO coffee shop.

I even had enough time despite an overly full panel of patients yesterday to see my friend at the HMO coffee shop to get the coffee grounds for the day. It was a heavy bag and it went right into the composter. I now know that one of my friends who is an RN sometimes will get the coffee grounds when I’m not there. It is so beneficial for the environment that it just makes so much sense to me to use it for the garden. That is methane averted from the landfill, and it makes beautiful black compost gold for our garden.


Gift from a dear patient, so I know what day it is. They are very dear to me.

June 19, 2021

by drplasticpicker

My baby sister texted me to ask me if I was okay. I’ll call her later this weekend and touch base. I had a really difficult child protection situation this week, that I’m still kind of processing. But it was an exhausting 48 hours emotionally for various reasons. I’ve learned that for me in my 40s, it’s better to imagine myself like gumby rather than teflon in terms of the emotional burdens we carry as healers.

Dr. Gumby 6 inch Bendable Wholesale
From the internet.

I had cried the entire night home after that day in clinic, quietly though. I had processed some of it with clinic friends. I was able to parent my children and get a fitful night of sleep. I had a slight headache the morning afterwards but able to send our monthly newsletter with joy. It was so pretty. I made some trash art which was helpful.

Upcycled coffee pod. Mr. Plastic Picker decided to donate the Keurig.

The trash art piece really helped me. It’s the Wooga Wooga man. Trying to scare bad people away. I imagined myself this creature when I was a child. I realize that now. Making scary facies to scare the evil away.


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.


Big eyes. Trusting, Sparkly. Ready to go.

June 11, 2021

by drplasticpicker

These trashart wine cork figures were super interesting. I didn’t intent to make them but my mother-in-law was salvaging some housewares from a neighbor. These were part of some old wineglasses and they fell off. And then I usually mount the winecorks on a large bottlecap for stability but I didn’t have any in my trashart area – but I noticed this old ruler that comes with those planners. The plastic ruler made a perfect material for the base and then I saw a face! Anyway, I think they are so sparkly and fun and wide eyes. This is actually my “clean” trashart from stuff we find around the house or when people drop off stuff at our house.

I’m not sure where I got the Starbucks green ubiquitous stirrer? I actually don’t like Starbucks coffee as it’s way too strong. I’m sure it was Mr. Plastic Picker.

We are going ahead with the Oregon property purchase still. We had a very odd interaction with our realtor. Let’s just say it was really weird, but in the end of the day we think he was having a bad day and is an honest person and likely it was a misunderstanding. Who knows about people. As a pediatrician, I know there are so many layers to people and families that what you see is 100% absolutely not what you get. This is a business transaction and in the end his professional responsibility is to represent our interest as well. He is getting paid dual commission. I always remember that when I see patients. They are the ones either through the parents employers, the goverment or someway – they are the ones paying my salary. I treat them professionally but with that consideration. It’s good that we are experienced in this because I think it would have spooked other people. In the end it is about this property and we see the value and we 100% got a good purchase price and we aren’t going to haggle over a few hundred dollars. It’s really important to be able to walk away from things and I was 100% willing to walk away. I told my family member, “If you want to kill the deal than I’m fine with it. We look somewhere else.” But we’ve looked all over the western US and Hawaii and this is a good deal for us and for the earth. So we will proceed today,

It’s a good reminder that real estate is not for the faint of heart. It looks easy but it can be stressful. I was a bit stressed yesterday as I called the realtor, called the home inspector, talked to my family member. We had questions and we needed them answered and we needed them explained to us. The ability to listen and explain is really important. I think that was our realtor’s problem yesterday. He was not listening and he did not explain. But I’m good at asking and needed to clarify certain things about this property, and I was reassured talking to experts like the well person and the home inspector. In the end, the realtor is just the realtor. He may have sold this property several times, but he doesn’t own the land. He’s not lived there.

So as I review the fundamentals of his property, my heart is at ease. I’m friendly with the well person. It’s actually the woman who own’s the company that inspects wells. She seems really nice. She gave me advice about the well.

And with that , have a wonderful Friday everyone! I hope you enjoyed the wine-cork people today. All of yesterday I was reminded that as a kid my family member (who I’ll just let you know is my older brother) and I would go camping all the time. That is what our family did when we were kids. I think this is why the property speaks to us both so much. I remember going to Yosemite when we were kids and we would hike and clambor over rocks all over the place. There was this one time he was a teenager and we were climbing over this one rock, and it seemed kind of dangerous. He said, “just pretend to be spiderman and get down flat on the rock.” And we did. We prentended to be spiderman and we got over that natural formation. It was scary, but fun. And in the end I trusted him. At some point you have to trust. No matter how great the realtor seemed, it may have been smoke and mirrors. But I trust my brother and I trust my family. I am everything I am today because of my family. We are all very close. And with that trust, and together we will go forward with the property purchase. We trust in ourselves. We trust in our abilities. We trust in our love of the earth.

Now that I think about it. I’m SOOOOOO EXCITED!!! We are going to be FARMERS!