Uncategorized – Dr. Plastic Picker

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Screenshot from National Geographic

October 30, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s been a whirlwind week. I got kind of distracted by the entire avGas project in Clairemont. We do need to remove lead from the environment, because the more developmental delay and dyslexia and behavioral disorders we have – the more social discord we have and that has led to a lot of everything. Everything is related. But I need to refocus on climate change and carbon emissions. Really no one should be flying these little propellar planes to begin with. Leaded or unleaded aviation gasoline. It’s helped me understand the leaded pollution issues in our local area more, which will help me with my work projects. It’s helped our advocacy intern find an important academic niche, and draw more people into our sphere of influence. But back to the most important issue at hand, climate change.

I try to have hope on this blog, but it’s hard when you see the issue at hand. We are not even close. COP26 is meeting and as someone who has gone to my own meetings, it’s just a huge upper management meeting. But we know change comes from the masses, the people. And that is where I’m trying to make the changes. We need less talking and more doing. And more doing with joy, that will show the world that saving the earth will bring us all healing.

I’m only on bag 13 for this month, and I only have really two more days to go. I try to get to 20 bags a month, but if I can get to 15 bags this month than I’ll be happy. Maybe if I can get to the beach early this morning which will be really good for my mental health as well, than I can get more bags and reach my monthly goal of 20. Did you hear that Boyan Slat of the Ocean Clean Up is actually now cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? And the famous YouTuber Mark Rober is doing another fundraising thing for him and it might happen sooner than later? I’ve definitely noticed less trash on my stretch of the Pacific that I’ve taken ownership of. That’s what we all need to do, grab an area and own it. That’s how we tackle with climate change. Realize the interrelatedness of it all, and work cooperatively and joyfully together.

So far in my personal journey, I’m at 573 bags of trash. I’ve salvaged already #1775 things from the environment, and this month I’ve actually recycled 78 things mostly aluminum cans from the environment! Recycling aluminum is one of the most environmentally friendly things you can do. We’ve been most impactful in our donations, and have donated enough to preserve the below. Wow, almost a million trees – just our family.

14,697 Acres Land/Ocean

936, 780 Trees 

This past week, we also voting in a pro-climate board to the San Diego Bicycle Coalition. Governor Gavin Newson announced steps to enact 3,200 feet setbacks from gas/oil wells which will reduce our oil production by 30%. This will also improve the respiratory health of much of LA. I connected with Dr. Elizabeth Friedman in Kansas City, and want to try to help her organize in Kansas City climate and health advocates and help galvanize some interest at the Pediatric Academic Societies around climate and health reserach. We are giving two big climate talks as part of work, at the county Live Well Conference and also at our big MSA. This early morning blogging helps me organize my mind and my climate work. I’m now realizing it was an impactful week, and I am able to do it and pace myself and self care at the same time.

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful and sustainable weekend. Reducing your personal carbon footprint is the first step. But systems change is easier than you think, if we all speak up! Well this is Dr. Plastic Picker going to regenerate this weekend so that I can continue to speak up for all of us. Thank you for being YOU – DEAR READER.
screen shot from Dr. Aprana Bole’s talk. We reached 60 attendees.

September 30, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m usually up later these days since forgoing coffee. My sleep is deeper. I sometimes miss the 4am writing sessions, but overall this is better for my health. I’m still writing a lot, but more advocacy letters and emails regarding climate. Please know that this blog and the writing practice and your support, has meant the world to me. I could not have done it without this virtual audience. You gave me the strength to speak up. You made me realize that people will respond to my writing, my letters, my words, my speaking.

I am sipping my “Green Awakening” right now which is my matcha soy latte. It’s this beautiful green warm cup of plant-based goodness that greats me in the morning. I also hope I caused a “Green Awakening” amongst some of the pediatricians who showed up at the California AAP State-wide Chapter Chat. It was on climate change, and very powerful. A coordinated effort amongst the four california AAP chapters. Primarily the talk was Dr. Aprana Bole who is a national figure in climate advocacy, and the head of the Council on Environmental Health. I was on the panel discussion along with someone I admire so much Dr. Amanda Millstein, founder of Climate Health NOW.

We were wearing the same clothes as the pictures! We all decided that likely all of us are minimalist, which is a good thing. I have two dresses like that, and I call them my zoom dresses.

I received text messages and emails from friends yesterday after the talk. I could tell that my comments paired with those big personalities and figures like Drs. Aparna Bole and Amanda Millstein resonated. I just told them my simple story about burnout and finding meaining in medicine through climate and health advocacy. I shared with them that for me it is a spiritual journey. I notice the butterflies and I notice the snowy egrets. The earth leads me to different projects, and I just grab all my friends and we try to do it together.


What my morning looks like.

September 25, 2021

by drplasticpicker

My back was bothering me on Thursday night. I had been working virtually or doing climate virtual work Tuesday through Thursday, and that relative inactivity and my seating posture really did a number of my back. But I try to listen to my body now. I made sure to sleep on the floor with the thin mattress pad that is really comfortable. I did some yoga stretches on Thursday night and then Friday morning. I wore good solid shoes I got from the Goodwill on Friday, and wore comfortable scrubs. I made sure to walk around and take care of my plants at home and at the HMO parking garage. Walking around and visiting plants, it very good for my mental and physical health. It’s fun to have a destimation to go to, and to visit.

Aloe, so happy!

I named the blogpost this morning the “Green Awakening” because our teen daughter was discussing her history class with us. They are learning about “The Great Awakening” and that term really resonated with me. I truly believe we are all going through “The Green Awakening.” I can’t explain it more than that. For me this entire journey has not been religious but spiritual. I listen to nature and the earth tells me what to do, and where to do. And she is trying to heal me and us at every corner, as long as we allow her and we listen to her.


Science journal we’ve been invited to write for.

September 10, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Life is so random and wonderful and beautiful. I wasn’t sure where to share this news. My own facebook? Instagram? Work MD facebook group? San Diego Women’s Physician Group Facebook Group? Crimson University alumin facebook group? Residency alumin facebook group? Crimson Asian American Alumin Facebook group? I have shared it with my family. But then I know. I needed to share this with you – readers. The others, I sometimes feel I’m forcing my climate and health advocacy down their throats. Here, I can be honest how serendipitous this entire journey has been.

Above is a journal that I am in contact with the editors through a high school friend. It’s a popoular science magazine and we have been invited to submit a piece. The maximum is two authors and we can write the article in English. I’m just really excited about the article because I will never have written something with this particular friend who I want to co-write this article with. And I’m excited about picking the various parts of our group’s advocacy work that we can include.

The Rewild Mission Bay work is going very well. We’ve officially joined the coalition and Dr. Ben Schleifer is our official contact with the coalition. We are working with our family practice colleages to get the San Diego Academy of Family Physicians to endorse as well. This weekend I will also work on my presentation for work. I’m trying to reengage in some work projects and I’m excited about my 20 minutes in front of our often raucous leadership group. And then I will work on the AAP NCE Poster with one of our premed interns. Lots of beautiful things to do this weekend.

I think I deserve at matcha tea latte?

So many sweet tomatoes from our garden.

August 21, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Okay. I’m up and the comments are written. Dr. Dear Friend and I are representing San Diego Pediatricians for Clean Air at a rally in El Cajon, and I’m speaking about the health affects of power plants on pediatric asthma. It’s funny when you speak on a topic that you know well and are passionate about, it comes very easily. I started writing my comments about 45 minutes ago and I’m done now. I used bits and pieces from our journal article. Since I wrote the words with my friends, it’s okay for me to use those phrases directly. I intermixed health facts with a story. Patient stories are always powerful.

I thought I needed strength when I started blogging this morning, but I’m okay. I fill myself up on real food that is mostl vegetables and a lot of really delicious tomatoes. I also got a very good nights sleep last night. Without coffee, my body naturally quiets toward the end of the day and I don’t wake up at 2-3am anymore. We are supposed to be there by 930AM, and I’ll leave here in about an hour. Pick up Dr. Dear Friend and we’ll meet the other climate activist at 930AM. We’ll walk one mile together to the rally. I guess I don’t have as much time as I thought. My speech is done but I need to practice. Okay. Here it is.


We can learn about restoring society by looking at healthy forest.

August 20, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’m drinking a cup of black tea plain this morning. It’s been probably six weeks since I stopped drinking coffee, naturally. I went for a very long walk yesterday. I was intending to just do a quick walk around the neighborhood and get one bag, but I ended up at the beach again and it was very wild and dramatic. I saw a father furiously and franatically waving to two young boys who were caught up far from the shore. The waves were very strong, and he was gesticulating wildly to get them to come closer to shore. I saw the ocean tide come in very far, and I couldn’t walk home on my usual path North, and had to turn south. The ocean had created a watery barrier dividing the beach. Rather than risk getting very wet or jumping across the few feet of shallow sea that block my path, I simply headed south.

But I’ve been thinking about the idea of True Noth lately. We talk about that at our HMO a lot, that quality is our true north. I heard it again on the literal 8th time I’m rewatching key scenes in Dawson’s Creek (yes I think it’s like the 8th time) where Joey Potter looks at Dawson Leery and asks him if he’s lost his true north. It’s the fixed point in the sky that you can always use to guide and navigate.

Many people seem to have lost their true north. Mr. Plastic Picker was very frustrated with work, and I was frustrated for him as well. We were not even supposed to be back in San Diego, and were technically still on vacation. But 4 sick calls in his department later, somehow my husband is working overtime shifts and filling a need. He doesn’t need the overtime and we certainly don’t need the money, and he’d rather be home. But there are patients that need procedures done and that is what happens when you are a doctor. His true north I think is his patients. He does really care about his patients.

My true north is the earth and the climate. And with that, everything is connected. And stories. In the end I’ve realized that I’m interested in stories. Fictional stories like Dawson’s Creek but also real stories. In this time of great hardship due to COVID, political and global upheaval, and also of the existential threat of climate change – what role did you choose to play? Mr. Plastic Picker chose to be the quiet hero, and show up to work. We had to cancel family and business meetings today so that he could do procedures. I’ve chosen to write and do this weird @drplasticpicker journey that helps a little and certainly doesn’t hurt. And if you’ve chosen to play the victim or the villain, than that is okay. We all have our roles. But I don’t think the victims or the villains ever get sequels. Thanks for hearing my continued ramblings regarding life lessons and the earth. Doing a lot of climate work still. Yesterday was an epic day. Dr. Dear Friend and I are going to a protest/rally. Hopefully we don’t get arrested. LOL. No we won’t! But we may make the news. Will let you know! Watch out fossil fuel company, Dr. Plastic Picker is coming to get you!

Two two pots. The left will become an upcycled succulent planter, and the right is my morning tea kettle. I bought it in college.

August 14, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I really appreciate everyone following along this environmental journey of mine. This morning I did something simple, I did our family’s monthly donations. Mr. Plastic Picker has to do a lot of overtime due to us being short-staffed during COVID and I got busy last month due to some big climate projects. But we are back at it and donated $200 this month. I try to be strategic with our money as it’s hard earned and we actually work for it. It’s hard to find a more impactful charity than Rainforest Trust, so I’m back at it and the money went to the Rainfroest Trust project in the Central African Republic and Chinko National Forest. By established a National Park there, they help preserve the land that is where African forest meets savanna. Protected species include lions, elephants, African wild dogs and much more. We now know elephants are like beavers, bioengineers of this earth https://www.rainforesttrust.org/projects/central-african-republic-save-a-vast-wilderness-for-lions-chimpanzees-and-elephants/. So it does feel good this morning. My living a sustainable life and working still and making money and not spending it on frivolous things, we chose to help preserve over 200 acres of African forest today.


Middle-management jobs.

August 8, 2021

by drplasticpicker

There is a youtube video that pretty much sums of the problem with all big organizations that includes government, big corporations, and HMOs. Mr. Plastic Picker showed it to me. Big organizations tend to create certain positions that actually don’t do nor accomplish anything. This is due to government regulations and very good reasons, but the end result is this bloated middle that includes what I call the inventory people. I once saw someone who belonged to a department whose entire job was to go through our entire organization and just scan barcodes to make sure HMO property stayed within the HMO. The absolutely hilarious thing is that there was a printer my old mentor had bought with his own money for his own office, and this robot put a barcode on it and then scanned it. That pretty much summed up the absolutely hilarity of the entire situation.


Remnants of the toaster that caught on fire. I put it out!

July 20, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Yesterday was indeed a momentous day. Firstly (is that even a word), I finished binge-watching Dawson’s Creek. I’m glad I did not watch this during it’s original run 1998-2003 because I was premed and in medical school at that time. I was very busy with my studies and my own romance with Mr. Plastic Picker, who is now my lawfully wedded husband. There was also living your own adventures. But now that I’m in my 40s and trying not to spew carbon in the air by taking exotic vacations and it’s still a pandemic anyway, I appreciated the adventures of this group of friends in Capeside. I had to finish watching yesterday because I knew that Pacey Witter and Joey Potter end up together (Dr. Dear Friend was kind enough to Ecosia search it for me) but I needed to see it for myself. For me, Pacey Witter and Joey Potter will go down as one of the great romances right along with Dr. Plastic Picker and Mr. Plastic Picker. They stay together and live happily ever after. I may need to write a fan fiction piece about them afterwards! That will be epic! My star trek fan fiction piece of Trip and Tpol regarding the alternate ending of the Star Trek Enterprise is still my most popular blog post. Click here to check it out! https://drplasticpicker.com/the-star-trek-enterprise-romance-of-tpol-and-trip-im-going-to-give-them-the-ending-they-deserve/

Yesterday was also a momentous day because I went through the first full day of work without coffee. Today will be the fourth full day (the entire weekend and Monday and Tuesday). I didn’t intend to stop drinking coffee, but it’s something I don’t mind. The reason why I was able to stop drinking coffee is because a huge psychological stress was gone due to our restructuring some of my work Assistant Boss responsibilities https://drplasticpicker.com/500th-bag-came-and-went-just-like-my-building-up-the-per-diem-pool-a-lot-of-work-and-passing-it-on-with-little-fanfare/ It was interesting the reaction of various people when I told them about my coffee victory. Lets just say there is alot of subtext with different reactions. But it is done, and the thirteen year old coffee habit came and went without much fanfare. It’s better for me, and it’s something that happened because I’m more in balance in the truest sense of the word.

Oh, and then the picture above! I was making dinner last night and our daughter has decided to not eat any meat for a while. This is okay because she has a very positive body image and she is doing it for the earth. We had gone through a period of kinda vegan eating, so I’m comfortable with the different cooking methods and I’m almost pescatarian anyway. So I was making an Impossible Meat (which is vegan) sauteeds with garlic, onions, mushrooms, mixed vegetables from Costco, and we had it with the locally made Pita bread from Sprouts. Our daughter was toasting it in the toaster and it lit on fire. Mr. Plastic Picker was able to move the fire outside, but I was the one who grabbed the fire extinguisher and put out the fire. I bought it years ago and thought it was a good idea to have it. And then I had gone through the training at work twice. I felt very masterful putting out the fire. I knew to remove the pin. I knew how to aim the fire extinguinsher, and I knew about how much to press it. I felt really good.

And lastly, one of our premed interns who is the second class in our commitee and one of my former patients – got an amazing internship with one of my fellow climate activists who is a researcher at UCSD. I was able to make the connection and she is now going to work with this wonderful group. I am so proud of her.

And that it is is. That is why yesterday was an exciting day for me. Still not drinking coffee. Boo to the naysayers. I know they don’t read this blog. I am drinking a bit of green tea though. Much love to you all. Dr. Plastic Picker! Hopefully will make it to the beach this morning.

This also happened. Mulched around the planters, and it cooled the soil down. I’m going to get more mulch later. Step by step. For me it’s a learning process.
Wooga wooga man. I needed him, cookies and coffee to cope with life. And now I’m back to being me.

July 18, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Something absolutely wonderful and weird happenend. Between semi-binge watching Dawson’s Creek, giving up per diem physician management as per the request of the HMO machinery, and realizing how sweet the cherry tomatoes from our garden tasted, I stopped drinking coffee. Yes, just like that. I stopped. It’s been 36 hours, and I haven’t gone without coffee at least 2 to 6 cups a day for almost 13 years to this day. I also stopped for the most part cursing (I know, I know, it was a horrible habit and I only did it – in front of my husband or co-workers when the doors were all closed).

I went for a real jog and walked along the beach last night. And then came home and had a good nights sleep. I woke up at 5am or so. I had gone through all of my medical training including chief residency and the endocrine clinical year without coffee. PICU, NICU, pediatric surgery rotation – all of it without coffee. I remember now that after the birth of our daughter when she was a preemie baby and then brining her home from the NICU, it was a stressful time in life. In retrospect, I had postpartum depression. I didn’t recognize it. No one who cared for me recognized it. No one asked. I self medicated with coffee, lots of cream and lots of sugar. That is how I coped with life. And the coffee habit fluctuated from 2 cups to sometimes 6 cups a day with lots of cream and sugar.

But this weekend it happened, the coffee habit ended without much fanfare. My body feels right. I realize through the demands of work, emotional stress – it was my crux. I’m lactose intolerant anyway. It’s hard to get sustainable grown coffee anyway. And I put way too much sugar in it anyway. Oh, the cursing for the most part stopped about the time I started walking along the beach plogging.

Without the coffee, time has slowed down more. The tomatoes from the garden are so sweet this year. I think some of it is the compost, but some of it was that I didn’t drink coffee with sugar yesterday. I had the cherry tomatoes at breakfast with a sandwhich and then at dinner we used it on our homemade pizza. It was hard to get enough to put on the pizza, because I kept popping them into my mouth. And the sky looked beautiful yesterday above the Pacific, despite the air pollution. I noticed a monarch butterfly when I was sitting in the car at the park, waiting for our daughter to finish volleyball. And I gave more hugs to Mr. Plastic Picker yesterday.

When one is on the path of healing, it is slow but real. Healing the earth. Healing ourselves. Sometimes I doubt myself. But then I get these little flashes of fundmanetal change that just happened because I’m just better. I’ll still eat cookies here and there, but I much prefer vegan muffins homemade now with whatever leftover ingredients I have around the house. Life is so sweet now with the cherry tomatoes from our garden.