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!!!
I had a good nights sleep last night. The puppy was barking at Mr. Plastic Picker and he was again working. I told my husband that he really needs to find a hobby, and that your brain works better if you have something non-work related to meander to as well. But I took our puppy, who likes to sit and bark at my husband as she is his little annoying super-fan, and I carried her little 12-lb furry warm body up onto our roofdeck. It had rained yestserday and the air was crisp and the concrete of the roofdeck was wet. Ascending the spiral metal steps up to the roofdeck is like entering a different world.
I had turned on the outdoor lights, that are low to the ground but gives one enough illumination to tread safely. When we reached the top, our puppy sniffed the plants cautiously. I’ve planted a blueberry bush, coastal rosemary (which I learned afterwards is not edible and not a rosemary! LOL), clementine dwarf tree, orange dwarf tree, juniper pine, many succulents, Dr. Jill Gustafson’sa actual rosemary I’m trying to propogate, and three small pretty pots of strawberries with onions. I added a lavender container late yesterday afternoon. Then there are the tray of baby succulents I’m working on.
But we were up there together, and it was quiet. She sniffed everywhere including the artifical turf from my brother’s house that I salvaged. It is now a small square area for her to hang out when we are up there together. It’s the first time she has seen in, and let’s just say she “inaugurated” it. But after cleaning up her mess with a plastic bag I had handy up there, I picked her up and held her to the top of the conrete wall that keeps us from tumbling down three stories. We overlook all of mission bay and can see right to the lights of Sea World and Mission Bay and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. She loves to close her eyes and feel the wind on her doggy face. I think it’s probably because scents are also carried on the wind. I wonder what our fur baby thinks about?
It’s nice to have that little retreat. We’ve had this area for years since our house was built, but it was really never used. But I’m up there often now. I planted most of those things really to combat the urban heat island effect, and to grow food. I am trying to change the micro-climate but without buying too much “new” things.
But after our puppy and I had our moment last night, I did just a few yoga moves. Then both of us relaxed, I picked her up and we returned to the 2nd floor. Mr. Plastic Picker was returned a calm puppy that was minus some poop and also some canine anxiety, I’m sure. She layed at his feet for most of the night and was less her usualy annoying self.
As for me, I wondered downstairs to check on our human children and chatted with our teen son. I checked the pantry and kind of mentally prepared for tomorrow’s meals. And then I went back upstairs and did 20 minutes of Yoga by Andrienne and was feeling very relaxed. And then I put my phone away somewhere out of arms reach and had a good sleep. As I was falling asleep, I do what I do more often these days – I visualize soil and compost and microorganisms recreating an entire ecosystem in the places that I’ve planted.
Gardening, composting, and farming have been around since before we were who we are – but I’ve only as a physician recently noticed it’s importance. I’ve had gardeners around my whole life, but I never fully realized what was happening to create the nutritious food I’ve always had or the shaded and wooded areas that always have made where I live – more comfortable than others.
But now I am becoming aware and growing in my knowledge. I really love composting and making dirt. I love trying new gardening projects and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. And when I can’t sleep, I visualize soil and it regenerating and sequestering all the carbon that we need to sequester.
It’s 515AM and everything is always better in the early morning. Work has been overwhelming of late. I had this very rare case series of an odd physical finding and I posted it on the COVID-19 Pediatrician Facebook group. I’ve referred these patients to the specialist. If it ends up being anything, I’ll probably try to write it up as a case report for fun. We have three interns now for our AAP Climate Change and Health Committee. I need to find them projects to work on. If it pans out to be anything, I’ll offer one of them to help me write it up. A case series is pretty easy to write up. I’m sure it will get accepted somewhere. At the least, I’ll publish it on this blog and have them do a presentation for my friends. But there are so many little journals out there looking for content, and Dr. Plastic Picker the imaginary eco-warrior me and the real world pediatrician me has a lot of content!
A lot of the “content” in my head or at least the things I’ve been thinking of late has been clean air, or lack of it. A bunch of my colleagues and I advocated for AB345 gas and oil drilling setbacks bill which unfortunately did not pass the Senate Committee. I did learn a lot about the political process https://drplasticpicker.com/ab-345-did-not-fail-politicians-failed-but-pediatricians-are-quick-learners-and-we-rise-up/. There is a lack of advocacy right now for clean air from pediatricians. Although I am the AAP Climate Change and Health Committee Co-Chair and HMO Assistant Boss, I cannot just say whatever I want on behalf of these organizations. The problem with big organizations like those is that we have to be non-partisan. Rightly so, everything needs to go through a vetting process. Those organizations while big and important, are under scrutiny. But as an individual and part of a organic network of friends who are pediatricians who care about the air, we want to move quickly and be able to be able to speak up.