The coach belongs to my sister. The two cushions as well. When she moved out of state, she handed the coach to my mom who then handed the coach to me. It’s one of the most comfortable places to sleep on in the house. The hexagonal shelf, my big brother made for me. He says he may make me more out of solid wood. This one is out of ply wood. It’s beautiful. I’m going to hang it out, and wait for more. Whenever the others may come, tomorrow or in a decade – I will place them next together.
Sometimes saving the earth and eating plant-based should be easy! Soy-milk yogurt was easy. Home-made pizza dough – easy. Instapot oatmeal – easy. Homemade granola – easy! Vegan bacon with rice paper which we tried this weekend, too many salt. Many “failures” this weekend trying to green our life (ask me about henna hair dye LOL), but soy-milk ricotta cheese???? EASY!!!
I enjoy my life. Before middle school, my family did not seem to have a lot in material wealth. My father worked a lot. I don’t remember seeing him much as he was at the office building his business until 9pm most nights. At home, we lived very frugally but always seemed to have more than enough. My mother is a phenomenol home-chef so we always had nutrtious and delicious Vietnamese food, which I realize now was heavy on seafood and plants. We were in good public schools. Most of my clothes were hand-me-downs, and I had cousins to play with that lived next door. My mom took us to the library anytime we asked, so I spent a lot of time as an elementary school student at the library just reading. And that was life. Filled with family squabbles with cousins and siblings, running around like mad children in the woods behind our house and having backyard chickens before they were cool. My grandparents would have garage sales frequently where they bought things at other garage sales and then sold their stuff at a markup. I thought they were brilliant.
This was a dream. I told Nurse Lan that it was the best gift he could have every given me. I have been committed to collecting the spent coffee grounds from the HMO parking lot on Mondays and Fridays, which are the only two days I work late enough to collect the coffee grounds. But the shop closes at 430pm, and that’s like clinic crunch time. Nurse Lan was able to get them for me and sounds like the coffee shop was apologetic about some coffee waste (like tea bags and napkins mixed in). I looked at him and said, OMG fishing a few tea bags is not a big deal! Nurse Lan wanted to fish it out for me, but I told him that it not his job and I don’t want to get in trouble with the HMO. Although they should thank me for reducing their methane emissions!!! All that beautiful nitrogen from the used coffee grounds would have just caused pollution and increased greenhouse gases in the landfill. Instead I got to take home a beautiful bag of these coffee grounds with just a bit of plastic and paper waste mixed in. I brought it home, and before coming into the house – I used my old plastic salad tongs from Olive Garden and just fished out the bits of plastic waste mostly tea bags. It’s relatively “clean trash.” And then I lived my dream, I mixed the beautiful nitrogens of the HMO coffee shop in with the recent bunny straw/poop/urine and food scraps. We are hot composting, and our composter gets steamy!!!
We have kind of a big decision to make in SDPCA. I can’t elaborate right now but it really challenges me to question this journey I have been on these last two years. Has it been about me? Or has it been about the earth? I thought it was about the earth, but there has been a miraculous amount of self-discovery and growth. And fundamentally I am a pediatrician, and I identify as such. But just like I know we can’t save the earth with just the liberal left, we need our conservative family as well (which is 40% of this country). I also know not just pediatricians can save the earth. We need all specialties. So I will think and talk to my friends and let nature lead the way. I believe the ocean will tell me what to do.
I’m sitting down at the kitchen table and only my father-in-law is up. He is boiling water and drinks some kind of healthy concoction that is definitely organic and plastic-packaging free. He is very healthy, and never let’s the outside world really dictate or influence how he lives his life. Much of why I am the way I am is from the loved ones around me. For our family, the remnant of the “old ways” are just a generation away. I think this is why I feel like a less-plastic life is so attainable. My in-laws have lived such healthy lives and have never wasted much, and they are rich in the things that matter – family, time, health and love. What more can one ask for?
Everything turned out fine yesterday. I made a lot of headway on several important work projects, creating a newsletter template and have some fun sections that other pediatricians contributed. We tweaked the pediatric schedules in the evenings and weekends a bit, to open up more appointments for needed PE access and vaccines. Even the Medi-CAL Performance Improvement Project Update is going to be fine, because one meeting was cancelled and I moved the other meeting up, so my colleague and I will have an hour to hash things through and type out the proposed project workflow. We’ll have an hour before the official meeting, which should be more than enough time to put things together. This will also be an upcoming publication for us. Maybe I should bring this computer with me, as it has the citation software that I’m using for the article I’m procrastinating on.
It’s 5am, and I’ve been up for already 1.5 hours. I fell asleep early last night, and at 3am I wasn’t sure if I should start my day. But my body said, get up Dr. Plastic Picker – get up Dr. Plastic Picker. I am working on a journal article of the Built Environment and Environmental Justice with four other AAP Climate Advocates, so that article is on my mind. I should be able to write a lot of it today. My section is only about 1000 words which is the length of a blogpost. But it’s a “real article” and I have to get in the emotional and intellectual space to write it.
I have been a Girl Scout Leader for seven years now. Seven years! The early years when the girls were young was actually really hard. I’m a pediatrician and not a teacher. They were really rambunctious and I felt like we were just giving them snacks all the time. Now they are 7th graders, and it’s easier. One of our troop members emailed us asking about doing a service project for homeless/shelterless people. In a very age appropriate way, she wanted to buy things for them that she thinks they need to ease their lives. And I felt like I’m finally the troop leader I need to be. Because indeed each of those girls are future leaders, and will help the world. Sometimes in the midst of planning badges and making time for meeting with other parents, I forget that. But this email reminded me, that Girl Scouts has always been a leadership program and about teaching them service. I was never good at crafts and sometimes did a haphazard job teaching them things. But I’m a leader and I’ve lived a life of service. I responded to this particular troop member’s email and it was very meaningful to me.
I am still flaberghasted that this is all happening. About three years ago I had done weight watchers for a hot second, and I realized that something about my body with that food system was broken. Losing the weight was easy, but the joy out of eating and cooking was gone. I’m not even sure why I was doing weight watchers, since I was a normal BMI. I had gained a few normal middle aged pounds over the years, and I think Mr. Plastic Picker had been diagnosed as prediabetic or borderline. I saw others in my life trying it or doing keto, and I jumped along. This led to a weird period where I suddenly let an app that I paid $19.99 a month tell me what to eat. It was horrible. I had never dieted in my life before, and my brain was going through that keto-brain thing – and I knew this was not the answer. I stopped.
And then other things happened and I was unhappy at work for various reasons. Actually I was completely burned out due to colliding circumstances, and the world seemed broken and I was broken. And then I went to the beach and felt better picking up litter, and gosh darn it a lot of that litter was food waste. It seemed to all make sense. I decided to help save the earth from climate change, and so much of climate change has to do with the food we eat. I became an environmentalist and many environmentalist are vegans or vegetarians or plant-based, and they are so nice. And mostly non-judgmental. This allowed me space to try to combine living a less-plastic life with eating more plant-based, and then it happened. I’m eating really really good food, mostly whole and home-made, plant-based, exploring cooking, saving money, and it’s really good for our bodies. Our entire family is healthier. And with each meal we are saving the planet. Mind-blowing, I know. Who knew, saving the earth could be so delicious??!!!