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Balcony Garden Update & Some Thoughts

First, an update on the balcony garden – things are going well with my little plant babies!

cherry tomato ripening

The cherry tomatoes are appearing all over, and there are plenty of blossoms too.

tomato blossoms tomato blossoms tomato blossoms

The regular tomatoes are also growing and looking good.

tomatoes growing

The cucumber is very happy and now producing blossoms. My friend said I’ll have to hand pollinate them. Is that true? I have no idea what I’m doing. I guess I should Google it.

cucumber vine cucumber flowers

The pepper plant isn’t very happy but it’s not dead yet, either. I’m just leaving it and going to see what happens. Anna thinks I have other plants to close to it. It could be.

I’ve also added a new member to the balcony crew, a little mint plant. It’s not in with the basil because I’ve heard mint can really take over other plants if they’re planted together. So this little guy will be flying solo.

mint plant


I also finally cut up and took home the soap I made with my Dad last month! It came out great. I’ve been using it in the shower. Next time I think I’ll add more shea butter, though, so that it’s a little more moisturizing. Any pointers?

Also because I’m a nerd, I packaged it up all cute.

homemade soap olive oil and coconut oil

So much is happening in life right now – lots to be excited and happy about, but also a lot to think about. I’m going to do some thinking “out loud” here.

Our friend Sophie has been staying with us for the past week and a half. She is back from serving in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, and will be starting a job as a sixth grade English teacher in a charter school in downtown Los Angeles.

Sophie was my first roommate ever, my freshman year at NYU. We had bunk beds in our tiny, tiny room, and as luck would have it we were both the same level of a little bit messy. She is from Austin, so when I made the decision to transfer universities and move there I had her support and guidance.

She is the chillest, most unflappable person I know. She’s incredibly smart and funny as well. She is now getting used to living in Los Angeles instead of on a tiny island of only a few hundred people with no electricity or running water.

Her stories of Ta (the island) are intermittently grim and wonderful. Despite the sometimes grim truth (no healthcare at all within reach, for example), there are parts of her life on Ta that I feel like we could do with more of here. Slow life. Idle time spent with neighbors. Long walks. Having less. Listening more.

I just look at my own life and find so little time to spend however. There is always some activity or work to do. What really grates me is the eight hours I spend every day in a cubicle, when there is rarely if ever eight hours worth of work to do. I could be making things right now, or getting to know my neighbors, or reading a good book. Or writing a good book!

But how can I create a life of less work and more time enjoying being alive, while still being able to enjoy being alive? In order to get some enjoyment, I at least need to be able to pay my rent, pay for good food, and clothe myself somewhat decently. And I need the job to pay for all that, which brings me back to square one.

The best answer I’ve found so far for this is to just need less. Consumerist culture has us all believing that we need the newest tech and clothes and car. But what if we didn’t?

Just by cutting back my spending on eating out and clothes, I was able to put enough money into my student loans over the past few months to completely pay them off last week (yay!). So now the amount of money I need every month is much lower than before.

What now?

I don’t really know the answer. I do know that there are going to be some changes in my life. For starts, I’m taking a new job. I’m very excited about this – the opportunity presented itself just at the right moment, and the job is for a cause that I deeply believe in and care about. I’ll give more details in a future post.

I’m getting a higher title, but not higher pay. Why is this ok with me? Because I’m getting flexibility. It’s with a startup. I’ll work when I have work to do, and I’ll go home when I don’t. I hope to work from home sometimes as well.

This is how work should be done, in my opinion.

We are not made to sit for eight hours staring at a screen. We’re made to work hard in bursts, and rest when there is less work to do. We’re made to talk to each other, make things, move our bodies, spend time together. I’m just trying to shape my life a little more each day into one that resonates with me as a human, a maker, and not a consumer.


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