Dr. Plastic Picker – Page 2 – A Personal Plastic-Picking Blog: Fighting Ocean Plastic Pollution One Piece At a Time
Screen-shot of a meeting on oil and gas setbacks yesterday.

December 17, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Sometimes when I go to bed, my mind is confused. It lived through the day and reorganizing things. Too much caffeine today? Too little nature? Did I help the earth? Climate gathering in person or another organizational meeting virtual that also has to do with climate? The day is filled with choices. I chose to speak up at a middle management meeting yesterday. I said my piece which is my truth, and I let it land. Whatever happens may happen, but I was proud of that moment. It was interesting people’s responses to those comments. But I have to speak up for physician wellness and I have a crystal clear understanding of my place in the world, and who I am. I wish that clarity for everyone.

The mornings are clear. The Christmas tree lights are twinkling in our living room. It’s a thrice handed down plastic tree that we love. Nothing new here. All the ornaments we’ve collected through the years, and they are mostly hand-made by the kids when they were younger. We have enough. I have a beautiful tin of cookies someone dropped off yesterday and I am so excited to eat each cookie. They were made with love and the beautiful reusable box with the cheerfull santas I will cherish forever.

And yesterday, I chose my family yesterday and I chose the earth. I chose my family when I spoke up about my displeasure regarding changes in our schedules. Most of the things that are wrong with the world are actually due to inaction or fear. Folks didn’t care enough or were too afraid to speak up to correct it. I have neither. What is there to fear when we have the code red for humanity due to climate change looming? And I have always chosen to act rather than inertia, even when I was at my saddest. I chose to walk toward the beach and I chose to start picking up plastic. I can chose to become a truffle farmer at any time.

And yesterday I chose the earth. There are only so many hours in the day and I thought to myself with all the competing demands on time, where should I go? I chose to attend the AAP San Diego Chapter Advisory Committee as I need to make sure the other pediatric leaders are on board as the climate change and health committee continues on our way. My co-chair is out on maternity leave and it’s important for at least one person to be there. I chose to show up at a virtual lunch meeting with Dr. Marnie Granados, who is co-chair with me of our new AAP California State Government Affairs Expert Section on Environmental Health and Climate Change. We met to discuss AAP California’s further support of oil and gas setbacks. Most of the organization and planning had been done by Drs. Marnie Granados and Amanda Millstein. But I try to document our journey and I am just amazed at how intense we look.

Willets I saw yesterday on my plogging journey Sunday morning.

December 13, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Here are some wandering wondrous willets I saw at the La Jolla Ecological Preserve. The beach I clean is a dedicated Marine Sanctuary area. There is a reason that the shorebirds only come from Crystal Pier and north, and the more north you go away from the commercial district and into the more wild areas where the kelp are allowed to remain and the insects flourish – there are more birds. I’ve seen snowy plovers, marbeled godwits, black turncoats, black phoebes, curlews, snowy egrets and now for the first time in a long while – I saw a flock of willets. They feed on insects, small crustaceans, mollusks and worms.

I don’t get out to the beach to “plog” as often as I had before. I think healing my heart and my mind in other sustainable ways has been important. I eat plant-based, reduce food waste, reuse what I can, minimize our consumptive lives and I think and write more than I’ve ever done before. I sleep. But the plogging trips are balms to my soul for sure. I always learn something about myself and the world, when I’m there.

In my environmental journey, the importance has been the quiet details. The butterflies, the shorebirds, and the little bits of plastics. It’s only my noticing the details than I can understand the big picture.

And dear reader, let your mind wander during the weekends. It’s only by letting your mind wander and explore and play, that you can laser focus on your goals and “your why” and help recreate the world that we want.

Thank you for being here with me as I let my mind wander in the mornings.

First script reading for tvN drama series “Revolutionary ...
First script reading of the series “Revolutionary Love.” OMG it’s so good. Top right is my make-believe boyfriend.

December 12, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I had this big revelation as I fell asleep watching my current favorite K-drama. It’s “Revolutionary Love” on Netflix and I highly recommend it. I also really loved “Hometown Cha Cha Cha.” I have to admit, for the first time since middle school, I spent an entire night binge-watching a series which was “Revolutionary Love” and did not sleep. It’s taken 10 episodes for the two protagonists I love to actually hug, and the innocently sweet character build-up and emotional scaffolding has been completely worth it. It takes me a while to fall in love with characters and I fell in love with Jun’s (the young woman) feisty spirit and Je Hun’s (the young man) beautiful hurt soul. It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good.

It’s not really an excuse, but this K-drama is part of the reason I decided to pass on an upper management position that I’m uniquely qualified for. But I realized that, it didn’t inspire passion and creativity in me. And if I’d rather watch a K-drama than work on an application – than it probably means it’s not the right position.

During my happiness while I was watching this particular K-drama and practicing my Korean, I was a bit freaking out Mr. Plastic Picker with my Korean mimicking while I’m watching the dramas. I speak conversational Korean and had studied it in college, so it’s wonderful to watch as between the subtitles and my own langauge skills and realizing I have two of my own K-drama-like teenagers in my house (I think my two half korean kids are really good looking) – I’m having so much fun. Too much fun! LOL.

And what is there more to life than joy and good fun? These K-dramas (at least the ones I watch) are very innocent and beautiful storytelling with actors I can identify with, and a language I am quickly improving. I had always regretted not being able to take the 2nd year of college Korean due to a packed premed schedule. But honestly these K-dramas are better! Especially my colloquial Korean is getting much better.

Realizing that that upper management position I was going to apply for but didn’t? I realized during binge-watching that I am in my early 40s. I have a long time in my career still. And there is no rush. I have lots of interesting projects I want to work on that are specifically climate related. And my own kids are still young, and I need time to be happy and to enjoy them and life. Rewild Mission Bay “Love Your Wetlands Day,” helping my daughter and her best friend with their Silver Award project on the Rewild Mission Bay project, leading the first AAP California SGA Committee on Environmental Health and Climate Change, The Youth Arts Exhibition this spring, and continuing to mentor all our premed students. My cup overfloweth is a beautiful way. I’m already the head of two big committees at our HMO even without being Assistant Boss, so I don’t need any more leadership jobs.

So thank you “Revolutionary Love” K-drama series, for reminding me that there are more important things in life than chasing titles that are attached to responsibilities that don’t inspire. You inspired me to continue to improve my Korean! And the earth inspires me to mentor and organize! Sending you much love from our K-drama filled house to yours! LOL LOL LOL LOL The storyline in “Revolutionary Love” is the same. Dare to change the world, and let true love guide you.

21 bags for November. Not bad!!!

by drplasticpicker

Even green “friends” can be unkind. What does it mean when someone tells you “You clearly have energy” with a certain tone of voice and expression? I was at an HMO Green Team meeting and I heard those words. I know we have competing pressures on our time, but my friends and I were there essentially on our free time. This is not one of our paid positions. And this particular person is paid to do this. It’s part of their job description. Does it mean “you clearly have energy, but lack clarity.” “You clearly have energy, but lack authority.” “You clearly have energy, buy lack direction.” “You clearly have energy, but are unable to articulate.” I know in my heart that is not what that person meant, but in my mind knowing that comment was directed at me who was the most senior woman leader there in that particular tone of voice – affected me. It’s funny how these running dialouges we probably all have in our head and we all bring our own particular histories to these make-believe scripts.

But my friends were there, and the meeting was productive and I’ve know been able to vent some of my frustrations here on the blog. Meetings and committees are all difficult. But we moved the work forward by stating our case that we needed some help, and we’ll move forward with the other person assigned to our work.

So here I am back on the blog, and dear reader – thank you. I haven’t posted as much the last month but the traffic has been steadily rising still. I can’t believe I’m at 596 bags of plastic pollution averted! Salvaged 1810 items from landfill. Click here to see my totals page! https://drplasticpicker.com/plastic-picking-round-up/

November 2021 Plastic Picking Totals! 21 bags and 46 items!

Aluminum Cans14Recycled
Plastic Bottles12Recycled
Sand Toys0
Flip Flops0
Clothing Items2Donated
Glass Containers3Recycled
Tennis Balls0
Swim Goggles0
Office Supply Items14Used

Honestly every month I come back to the blog and I know I’ve trudged forward. I’ve trudged forward toward my goal of 1000 bags (wow 596 bags is a lot!). And I’m trudged forward in my efforts to save the planet. I irritated some people yesterday at a meeting, and they irritated me back. But I know they are green friends and even green friends that say non-ideal things want to save this earth. And then I had a fun and very impactful meeting with AAP Climate Change and Health friends from our new super-cool committee (State Government Affairs!!!) and we discussed some upcoming legislative stances we want to take. We divided up the work and went forward on more climate work.

It’s so important to fill up your earth-agent/green super hero tank with goodness. yesterday was watching some K-dramas and practicing my Korean. It was silly but fun. I’m drinking matcha green tea soy latte, and I’m looking outside our wet backyard with the rainbarrels having caught as much rain from the sky as possible. I’m happy this morning because mother nature watered the urban rooftop garden, watered the backyard container garden, watered our front garden, watered the HMO parking garage succulent garden, and she’s working so hard. She’s working to cleanse the world and heal. For me this is a spiritual journey as well as a practical one. It’s practical because I want a liveable planet for all our children. But it’s spiritual because I know we are part of this larger cosmic battle between inaction and action, hopelessness and hope, disinterest and attention, fatigue and energy, good and evil. You have to choose which side you will be on. I choose the light. I choose hope. I choose action. So maybe when that person said “You clearly have energy” she saw my light. Please dear readers and go forth and be part of the light. The darkness is coming. It threatens to overwhelm us, but you can choose the light.

The Green Dragon that is our HMO has awoken, but it needs to wake up a little faster.
Wow. It was really good.

December 7, 2021

by drplasticpicker

I’ve known Eric Nedelman as a parent of my patients for well over a decade. We’ve chatted about their kids and life, and gone through the normal markers of childhood for their children. But he handed two CDs to me last visit. I have been handed CDs in the past, but for some reason I finally found a computer that has a CD player and popped in the CD. It’s really good. I’m amazed at the talent and creative works we all have around us, that often go unnoticed or not appreciated. I wonder who reads my blog sometimes. I put my heart and soul into my writing, grammatical errors and all. It feeds my soul. And for Eric Nelelman, this CD is very good. Check out https://unpavedhighway.com/index.html. The album was created back in 1994. That was the heyday of my high school years so maybe that is why the music resonates with me.

I particularly liked track one and four. One is “Back at Home” and four is “Stand Up.” We are honored to start putting together the 2022 AAP Youth Arts Exhibition on Climate Change and Health, and it’s going to be at a large Hillcrest art gallery and the owner has donated the entire space for the month. We’ve never done anything like this before. But part of the exhibition will be experential and I’m going to ask Eric if we can play Track one and Track four at certain areas in the art gallery. The entire point of the exhibition is to highlight the understanding and perception San Diego County’s children have on the state of the earth, and then the artistic and real prescriptions their pediatricians are doing to adddress this.

My colleague and creative mastermind behind this Dr. AF says we should do an Exhibition Catalouge. I’m all for it! He eve has someone who wants to work on it. So here we go, doing something we have never done before. We need to wake people up and we will do it through the art work of our children and our own creative projects that address climate change as the single greatest threat to our children. If not us, who? If not now, when? And part of the how, is through our own storytelling.

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!

Sign that I picked up on my lunchtime walk and will be recycled and returned to human consumption circulations. I would say – yes a higher power does love you. I call it mother earth.

December 4, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Sometimes technology doesn’t work. I was going to do my regular Secondary Environmental Net Positives Post for this series https://drplasticpicker.com/plastic-picking-round-up/, but the HMO issued iPhone is wonky and I can’t get into my notes section. Oh well. Some higher power out there does not want me to post that post today. I’ll probably post that post tomorrow, or the day after or the month after. That is truly the beauty of this blog (blog beauty is great alliteration), it’s a place to just document this circuitous environmentalist journey I am on.

It’s 456am Pacific Standard Time, and my father in law just came into the dark kitchen. It’s a rhythm we are used to. The rest of the world is asleep, and I sit in the semi darkness drinking my morning cup (now of matcha green tea soy milk latte) and he turns on the stove burner and heats his pot of water for his morning drink. He turns on the stove heat up high, and I always love the beautiful blue of the fire. I know we need to change over to an induction stove, but we are not there yet. We are imperfect environmentalist.

It’s Saturday morning and the world is still dark and I’m grateful for the weekend. Friday clinic went smoothly and the families I care for dropped by many of them for their yearly visits. I’ve been a pediatrician now for 18 years if you include my training time. 18 years is a long time to learn a craft. I’ve been Dr. Plastic Picker now for going on my third year.

I’m going to mostly putter around the house today because Mr. Plastic Picker is working again more overtime, and the kids have their virtual lessons today. I’ll finish some climate projects and I’ve decided to apply for a leadership position outside of our department. I want to grow. But I know not to force things, nature will lead me where I need to go. I have so much hope because I know this blog continues to get 500-1000 readers a day. Someone is reading. Someone is listening. Please smile, because Dr. Plastic Picker does love you because you are part of the earth.

Found the video of me talking. I’m not as narcissistic as I used to be.

December 1, 2021

by drplasticpicker

Here you come to see the true story of a local litter-picking pediatrician. And the true story is that I find it the utmost amusing thing that I’m all over the internet. I had met up with Dr. Marnie Granados from AAP-CA4 (Orange County) to discuss planning for two big state-wide climate projects. We are co-chairing the AAP California State Government Affairs Expert Committee on Environmental Health and Climate Change. Wow, that was a mouthful. Orange County is also the site for the next AAP NCE, and she is inspired to do a sustainability /climate service project and art exhibition. We had made moves to do something similar in San Diego, and the Philadelphia AAP also but due to COVID both conferences were virtual. We discussed ideas and structure. The meeting was very efficient. 45 minutes and jam-packed. My general impression is that Dr. Marnie Granados (who I have worked with before) is one of the nicest people I’ve met. Dr. Amanda Millstein is also really nice, but she is really busy. She’s in the photo also.

Since I met with my fellow Co-Chair (I have many co-chairs of all the committees I lead inside and outside of work), I just happened to Ecosia search the past AAP California multi-chapter chat and lo and behold, the recording of our talk was up on VIMEO! I watched myself speak last night (in addition to all my nice co-panelist) and I was surprised that I was quite well spoken and I think somewhat inspiring! My story is simple and I tell it only when asked now, but I think it still resonates. That talk had been one of many talks I had given that month, but now that I think about it – it landed well. It had it’s intended effect. The really funny thing is that you can see me adjusting my hair quite a bit and my facial expressions are so odd somethings. I have no filter. But I come to this work honestly and with an open heart, so it was really fine. I do look at times tired though, which I think I was. Kind of plays into the character of the former burned out pediatrician. I dyed my hair that day though so I look really young!

The one thing I did well in that talk was include the names of many of the people who have collaborated on this journey. It’s important to make sure everyone understands it’s the biggest group project every, saving the earth.

So I’m just really looking forward to working with Dr. Marnie Granados over the course of the year. We are neighbors! OC is just north of San Diego. Our daughter had her hair styled like Marnie Granados yesterday when she went to school, and my mother-in-law said she was beautiful. I think they both are beautiful, inside and out. The funny thing about Dr. Amanda Millstein and myself, is that we often wear the same outfit at Zoom meetings. I think because we are minimalist. That’s my zoom dress and I’m sticking with it. If Mark Zuckerberg can wear the same Tshirt, why can’t I wear the same dress?

Cow’s Creek Physician Rescue (CPR)

November 26, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and we are home home. In our Southern California home. I have to work today normal clinic and Saturday 830-5pm. It’s extra duty on Saturday and my obligation of being part of our physician group. I get paid overtime. I don’t give away my shifts anymore. I don’t even know why we judge others for giving away their extra duties when others want to work it, but it’s still a thing in our department. The judging. But it’s getting better and I’ve decided that there are few times that it’s productive to render judgement on things like that. There’s Mr. Plastic Picker who is standing in the middle of the tree parcel of our Oregon farm. Over a hundred acres of douglas fir on that side of the parcel, and a healthy stream that flows through it. Both of us, and all doctors, we’ve been judged our entire careers. And sometimes the judging and punishing is inflicted by eachother. It’s an institutional and professional history that dates back centuries really. It’s no use blaming any one person or institution, but it’s important to understand how deeply rooted it is in our professional culture.


Better. The first picture I put Riley’s eyes were closed. Now they are open! My eyes are open as well.

November 19, 2021

by drplasticpicker

It was really fun yesterday. Riley Gilbertson our advocacy intern and I got to stop by to the UCSD PRIME HEq program, and we even had designated parking spots at lot #603 which is the end of Osler Lane! Riley got his spot. Someone was parked in mine! I parked in the pharmacy school’s spot. I hadn’t been at that area at UCSD since interviewing as a medical student over 20 years ago. San Diego is really a big city now.

The UCSD PRIME HEq program is part of a larger University of California program, and each campus (UCLA, UCD, UCSD ect ect) has a different emphasis. I learned this yesterday because my old medical school friend and friend Dr. Luis Castellanos is the director of PRIME HEq at UCSD. He even agreed to be features in my blog about a year ago! Here is the blogpost https://drplasticpicker.com/dr-luis-castellanos-cardiologist-doing-his-part-for-the-environment-7/