LOL. That’s an awfully witty blog title Dr. Plastic Picker. How many clicks do you think it will garner? As this blog is non-monetized and completely for my own amusement and to keep me on track on my environmental advocacy, it does somewhat matter. The HMO Family Practice residents are descending upon pediatrics today and I am making vegan banana beer bread with coconut oil and extra dash of cinnamon and extra splash of vanilla extract. I even added in some coarsely chopped walnuts, I was feeling so fancy. I used one of Mr. Plastic Picker’s fancy IPA beers for the recipe. It essentially cost me nothing as I had all the ingredients already and a lot of overripe bananas.
I referred back to this recipe on this blog but used just bananas and not mangos. https://drplasticpicker.com/banana-mango-beer-bread-re-imagining-a-bad-costco-mango/ I also bought a bag of fancy granola from Costco. Otherwise these days instead of spending $150 on meat-filled breakfast sandwhich box from Einstein Bagels, I just made it simple. I just contribute when asked and do what brings me joy which was grabbing something simple at Costco and averting foodwaste and doubling a recipe. Half of this bananas beer bread will stay home, and half will come to clinic for the residents.
There are 21 months and approximately 630 days left of my Assistant Boss term. Yes, I’ve decided in my melancholy and frustration regarding middle-managment to have a countdown. Yes I have. This is the beautiful United States of America and I have freedom of speech and freedom to count. If other MDs can have a retirement countdown and not suffer any professional repercussions, than I have an Assistant Boss countdown. I used to sometimes think about how many years to retirement, but I no longer even consider that thought – as the practice of actual patient care brings me so much fulfillment and joy again. Or maybe it never was as fulfilling and meaningful as it has been the last two years. But the Assistant Boss and middle-management time? I am doing a countdown. Yes I am. And no one can stop me.
I am also going to buy a rooster and I’m going to name him Louie. There is a special person named Louie and I talked to him recently. We caught up on life and I asked him how his retirement is going and he said with true happiness in his voice, “I’m good. I’m really content.” And rather than asking him to work shifts or talk about our middle-management needs, we just chatted about life. He really cared about the farm and wished me luck in Oregon. And I decided at that moment that when we start raising chickens (which the plan is relatively soon) that I will name one of the roosters after him. He laughed.
And that laugh, and that conversation made up for so much. His happiness and contentment gave me joy. During my time as Assistant Boss I was able to do certain projects that eased his transition. It eased the pain of what middle-management did to him at the end of his career. I remember the ignoble way the HMO machinery tossed aside one of it’s best leaders. As I think to my countdown the 21 months left, I don’t know where life will take me. But I always think to Louie when I have doubts. I call him sometimes when I have moral quandries. But it’s time to let him go too. He is living his life in retriement with joy, but I will have a chicken and name it after him so I can remember the Chief Boss and I’ll sing to that chicken/rooster that oh so fitting song.
“Louie Louie. oh no. said we gotta go. yeah yeah yeah.”
I started this blog and the different “blog series” on Dr. Plastic Picker on a lark. I had always wanted to be a blogger, and this blog gave me an off-beat irreverent creative outlet. I wanted to document my eco-avatar environmental journey, and maybe inspire others to take that next step. I understand that we need systems change, but systems change can only happen if there is an upswelling in public support and sentiment. And that is where I come in. My half-arsed middle-management career was part of my journey to burn-out and back, and now integral to how I plan to help save the earth. Being in middle-management and I think an effective physician middle-manager made me realize that it’s literally easier to save the earth and change people’s hearts, than it is to “solve” certain middle-management issues.
I was up until 2am last night watching Dawson’s Creek. I had worked Saturday morning clinic and feeling tired, so I went to my other alternate universe which is now Dawson’s Creek (I have multiple alternative universes). This morning I was supposed to meet two famous Instagram litterpickers for a joint event, but honestly after trying to be mindful and take care of my own patients in a Saturday morning clinic – I was tired. I wanted to escape. And I escaped into the slightly bad-boy eyes of Pacey Whitter. Joshua Jackson the actual actor is my same age, so I think it’s okay to have this celebrity crush. I’m on season 3 right now and it’s getting kind of weird with the story lines – but still fun. And after Dawson’s Creek, one of my real friends (not Instagram friends) recommended Fringe which also stars Joshua Jackson. I’m actually really excited.
And that is it. I don’t have much to say today. I watched so much Dawson’s Creek last night and was up until 2am, that I texted the two Instagram litterpickers and said I could not come, and I had family responsibilities. And this is true. I’m actually going to meet up with a real life friend and do a litterpick around our area, and show him our composter Aerobin400. I consider him family because I interact with this particular person alot and I love his toddler, who speaks fluent Vietnamese. I’m still going to try to save the earth today, just without driving since I’m tired and will just see someone I really know. And I was having second thoughts yesterday, because Instagram is not really real. I didn’t want to set a bad example and start meeting virtual people in person, because what if they are not what they purport to be? I’m pretty sure these two particular people are wonderful, but you never know. I don’t want to end up in a ditch somewhere because I did something stoopid.
So I’m watching Dawson’s Creek and finishing up the final edits of that journal article again. Knowing I can watch Dawson’s Creek (which I did not watch in college because I was premed) gives me a nice feeling toward the close of the day. But I’m not going to binge watch it anymore. Just a few episodes a night is good. Got to love these streaming services. Will pick up litter today but with someone who I really know. Then with our highschool class as a mini-reunion event beginning of August.
Pacey Whitter, I think you may have saved my life. Because I was memorized by your quick wit and slight bad-boy persona, I missed this mornings litter-picking event with complete strangers. I know it wasn’t the safe thing to do, and Mr. Plastic Picker told me not to go.
Yesterday I had two baby monarch catepillars that my mother-in-law mistakenly thought were pests. I came home after clinic and she said there was a slug eating up all the little plants I had asked her to grow from seeds I brought home. She had painstakenly grown those plants, and they were native milkweed from Nurse Lan’s garden. He had given me seeds. And we had just 6 little plants that were not more than 2 inches tall. Two catepillars had eaten them all up. My mother-in-law brought them for me to see, and they were floating in water. They were monarch catepillars and those milkweed plants were meant for them.
My mother-in-law did not know, and I knew how hard she had worked to grow these seeds I had brought home. We started the seeds late this season, and there are not enough for two hungry monarch catepillars. I read on the internet that sometimes zuchinnis or pumpkin or some kind of squashes will do, but to be careful of the pesticides even in “organic” squash. We had a small pumpkin, the first of the summer squash crop that is organic and grown from our own yard. So I did what the internet said, and placed them in a chopstick for the catepillars and also threw in a few of the remaining milkweed leaves. I’ll bring them into clinic if they are still alive today, and see if Nurse Lan can’t give them a home in his garden.
Two big things happened this weekend. I final submitted for our author group Durrwachter-Erno Et Al our paper titled “Informing Policy on Built Environments to Safeguard Children in Environmental Justice Communities: Case Study of Five American Academy of Pediatrics Climate Advocates” to the Journal of Applied Research on Children. This was the final edits after the copy-editor read through. It seemed like a simple process fixing the citations and doing the rewording, but it took all weekend and probably a combined 10 hours of actual work. Commas are important, and citations have to be formatted a certain way. It was a labour of love for all six of us. The round-table discussion from Children At Risk will be made available today as well, where they interviewed our author group along with two other climate and health related papers. During this process, I half fell in love with the copy editor (with my husband’s knowledge) as I felt his last read that he really understood what we were trying to impart. My hubsand was an editor of several highschool and college publications and an English major, and he understood.
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).
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.
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.
I’ve let middle-management worry me (it is 18.75% of my job description – literally) the last two days. It is a complex system and it’s easy to become a creature of said system. I’m definitely strong enough to manuever within it and still stay effective and impactful. But it is so annoying. That’s all I can say about it. So many committees, office politics, minutiae. In the end, it’s the children that get the better care at the end that make it worthwhile. It’s my colleagues and trying to improve their lives, which give me strength. I know I have been a transformational leader and have given the HMO monolith bang for their MD Middle Management buck. But I had an epiphany this morning, just sitting here at 4AM and typing away. I finished watching a NetFlix series which was really heart-warming and touching, and should have slept more – but I didn’t because I have to help a student with an abstract for the upcoming AAP meeting. My epiphany as I roused myself to do something that was important for a student and the earth, is that if I “fail” at this Middle Management or I chose to “opt out” it is 100% the system.
430AM is so much better than 245AM. My sleep cycle had shifted with everything that was happening, and I had been getting up too early. I was getting sleepy during the afternoon and then napping. That was not safe especially when you have to drive home in the afternoon at around 2-3pm when one’s cortisol hormone level is at the lowest (thank you 2/3 endocrine fellowship!). But working through things, I am better now and 430AM – 5AM is about the normal time I wake up. So I am better and the world is quiet, and I can do some climate work.
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.” https://www.vietnam-culture.com/articles-107-3/Ancestor-worship.aspx 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.