Good morning dear readers! I’m back from an epic few days up in Oregon. I don’t fly lightly but it was a combined brief vacation and working trip to try to figure out our Oregon farm. Stay tuned as try to figure out what I’m labeling CPR Cow’s Creek Professional Rescue. I’m forming a board of directors, and working with a friend on curriculum right now. It’s a fun dream and we are making this dream a reality. Mowed a few acres of pastureland. Roamed around the forested lots on the Polaris, and saw how much nature is in these timber forests. Family of deer, temporary wetlands with water fowl. We know there are bears and cougars and foxes. That large predators are on this land is to me heart-warming. So I’m trying to preserve this land but make it cashflow in our capitalistic society. I believe in responsible capitalism and democracy, and I think I can make this work.
It’s 645AM and I’m blogging this morning to process everything that happened yesterday. My mother-in-law is puttering around the kitchen and has another upcycled matt someone gave her. Our house kind of ebbs and flows with the upcycled things that enter into it, and then exit out mostly donated to Goodwill or gifted to someone I know. Choosing to step off the consumerist wheel was one of the ways I have been able to be such an active climate and health advocate. When one stops shopping for fun, you gain so much of your time back.
We still buy things here and there, but choosing to value things and people as precious and non-disposable has been the core of my activism. That has been true for most of us in this work. I’m looking out into our backyard garden, and it’s so gorgeous and worthy of any eco-magazine. You can’t replicate it, because it’s upcycled planters and tomatoes overflowing with hidden sweet cherry tomatoes. It’s our rosemary bush that was propogated from my friend Dr. Jill Gustafson’s cutting several years ago. We don’t have to buy rosemary anymore. It’s the plethora of flowers from rescued plants my mother-in-law picks up from friends and the local Sprouts, whose manager knows her well and is happy to have her take the plants that would otherwise be thrown out. Yellows, reds, and little white flowers that look with baby’s breath from where I sit. Even the vegetables when they are seeding give off flowers, as we save the seeds for next season. It’s tended with a loving hand and appreciated by our sustainable family, knowing that we are a part of nature and the result is this confusing yet sensible mess.
It’s been a moment and a half since I blogged dear readers. The last blogpost “What does 끝 (kkeut) mean in Korean? To Finish” where I essentially announced my departure from middle management on my own terms was a big moment on this blog. It will deserve it’s own chapter in my book. We headed out for Joshua Tree to take my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop camping right afterwards and I was on digital detox. I hung out with my mommy friends and we had Teslas and Priuses dropped off our gear, as overprotective Asian physician husbands hovered at a nearby posh hotel. The Girl Scout mommies were truly primative camping in tents, as 20 hour per mile winds were blowing hard enough that our tents became unstaked. The girls learned to dig primative toilets, conserve water while camping, and we made so many memories that I can close my mind and the bird sounds and vistas come rushing back. This is how much water we had for a group of 12 camping.
It was less than 24 hour at the campsite, but our troop earned three badges including the Girl Scout Natural Resources Badge which is truly beautiful and given by the National Park Service. And most importantly the camping troop reminded me that I am going to be fine. I’m going to be totally fine as I decided to 끝 (kkeut) my Assistant Boss career. I laughed and was a wife and a mother, and a climate and health advocate.
My mind is filled with Korean these days. Between living with my in-laws for the last 16-17 years to binge-watching K-dramas to having my Korean New York City sister-in-law visit this weekend and being in the center of our essentailly Korean household, I’m an observeror and participant in this life we have. My Vietnamese parents are close by but I don’t see them as much and I don’t speak to them as much, so my mind turns toward Korean words these days. Every morning I have a quick breakfast and it’s a bit of kimchi and some side dishes with rice. Plant based because most cultures were plant-based before that word was a thing. What does 끝 (kkeut) mean in Korean? To Finish. To End. And I’m at a beautiful ending in my career.
This is Dr. Plastic Picker at about 1 or 2 years of age. I could not believe it! San Diego is still a small town, and especially if you are Vietnamese – it’s a small community. A patient family I have had for over ten years, out of the blue said “our families know eachother from Vietnam! My mom has a picture of you from my brother’s birthday party.” And indeed dear readers, a picture was sent and it was me! I was so shocked! That’s me in clairemont at my first boyfriend’s birthday party. (kidding of course to his I’m sure beautiful wife). He clearly was distinguished back then, but neglected to give me cake or a share of his presents. I don’t remember the occassion but I do know my own emotions, and I am clearly upset that I was not the center of attention and I’m sure was not offered cake soon enough!
I thought Mr. Plastic Picker was my first boyfriend who I met at 18 and started dated at 19. I always told him that I waited for him, and that when my Crimson University Freshman Formal date leaned in for a kiss – I panicked! I didn’t want my first kiss to be from this particular Crimson University Vietnamese boy. He was nice but he wasn’t the one. As an immature 18 year old, I literally ran away from the poor boy who had so nicely taken me to a sushi restaurant and danced with me all night. But kisses are important, especially to young romantic 18 year old me.
Wow. Blog traffic really picked up. I always average about 400-500 readers a day, and sometimes it goes up to 1500. Now the recent traffic is about 600 a day. I wonder why? This blog is non-monetized and really about entertaining my community and nudging readers to take some environmental action. I know it might be dizzying the amount of environmental work I do. But if you know me in real life, this is how I’ve always been. I like to get things done and projects completed, and I’m generally an effective person. Now that I’ve found climate work, which is really endless – I’ve found my happy spot and do projects that bring me joy.
Yes. I’ve decided to become a Truffle Farmer/Forager. We have the farm and likely there are truffles on the farm. I cold-emailed the world’s top truffle expert to ask him about starting the truffle industry in our area in Oregon. He emailed back, and now I’ve looped in one of our neighbors who definitely has truffles in his area. We are going to forage for truffles on our parcels hopefully, but forage via satellite. I was precepting one of the UCSD Rady’s pediatric residents and I often mention my crazy doings, and one of her replies was incredulous. To the extent “how is that possible?” and asking non-sensical questions but in somewhat in a non-believer and slightly negatively nuanced way. Most people don’t know that I know these things. I read up. I don’t have time to explain because my brain is racing and thinking, but I was slightly annoyed. I just looked at her and the look of someone who is a non-Dr Plastic Picker believer, and I honestly just delete that person from my mind. No imagination, I’ve decided. Just precept and teach for the time I’m given, and move on.
So yes my dream is become a part-time Truffle farmer/forager. I’ve declared myself that. I am going to drive out the marijuana growers by bringing in an industry that is sustainable and actually good for the world. Using the water of the Cascade mountains to grow marijuana???!!! EVIL. Truffles that really require no water, and are native to the area and will increase LOCAL and SUSTAINABLE travel and cuisinse- GOOD. So for all you illegal marijuana growers in southern oregon, this pediatrician is NOT YOUR FRIEND!!! The children or Oregon are our children too! Marijuana is not good, period.
Come to think of it, it’s the ugliness of the entire marijuana industrial-complex that angers me as a pediatrician. That is part of what is driving me to really look into truffles for our area. I fell in love with the mountains and the trees on our farm. How does one “own” land? I think of myself as a steward. And I definitely don’t think the land was happy with the marijuana growers.
I’m waiting for another email reply from Professor Charles , our Oregon truffle expert. Mr. Plastic Picker and I are going up soon to spend a few days on our farm. We have two sets of friends going now, and I’ve invited the HMO residency program to use the farm for a retreat. I think I’m done mass inviting everyone. If 3-4 of my friends go, then that is enough. They are all climate friends, and I want them to be renewed by the land and the area. Heal them, and they will help heal the earth.
We are thinking of building a tree house as well with my family member! That would be so interesting!
I don’t feel guilty much these days. Mothers and doctors, we tend to blame ourselves for everything. Our own child gets a B+ in a class, our fault. Our child has plagiocephaly from the back to sleep campaign, our fault for not recommended strongly enough tummy time. The climate crisis, our fault for not having enough money to buy a Tesla. But after you realize the true villains that caused the climate crisis – you will stop feeling guilty. Vaping company CEOs – villains. Fossil fuel companies who knowingly still push pro-fossil fuel policies – villains. People who litter knowingly and with darkness in their heart when they do that act of littering – villains. Me? Not a villain!
But I do somewhat feel villainous when I blatantly made the best Instapot chicken soup out there. It’s hard not to feel guilty when you are an environmentalist and hang out with vegans all day. But we are plant-based, not vegan, and I made chicken soup with a game hen and it was so delicious. I now realize after putting in an Ecosia search that a game hame is essentially a chicken that is a toddler, and I feel even more guilty.
It’s been 6-8 weeks of Korean-drama binge watching on Netflix and the “Asian Crush” app. Yes, I have been in Korean-drama land. The Korean dramas I watched just to name a few were “Crash Landing on You,” “Hometown Cha Cha Cha,” “K2” (that one is so good but there is a scene I would be a little bit embarassed to watch with my kids), “Revolutionary Love,” just to name a few. I honestly know for me this binge-watching was not unlike my previous periods where I was really into an author and binge read certain genres. There was my George Eliot period when I read Middlemarch almost in one sitting in 8th grade. I then proceeded to read everything she wrote. There was the more whimsical Jane Austen period, which I went through at the same time with one of my high school friends. I think Pride and Prejudice back then was $1 on the scholastic book order form? And then was the Clan of the Cave Bear series, where again I would read the new release and then I remember not eating for almost a day and almost passed out when I finally stood up after reading one of the novels. These were thick tombs over 600 pages long.
I’m up at my regular blogging time now. It’s been a while. It’s pitch dark outside and the house is quiet. I have my matcha green tea soy latte in a Yeti Tumbler, a gift from the former regional chief of pediatrics for participating in a gun safety pilot program. It’s a long weekend for the kids and they have Monday off, and I somehow managed to remember to take that day off too. The Yeti Tumbler keeps my morning matcha green tea at the right temperature for longer, and there is some sweetness with some sugar – but much less than I used to drink with coffee.