nasturtiums in progress

potted nasturtiums in full sun, five weeks old

Optimism sometimes works. Remember how I planted nasturtium seeds five weeks ago, not knowing if I would even be able to afford to stay in my apartment long enough to watch them flower? Well, look at them now, the little green babies.

I had to replant partway through, after coming out to the balcony one day and finding half of the shoots nipped off at soil-level. We think the culprit was a blue jay who's been nosing around and squawking. My cat needs to take fewer naps, I'd say.

nasturtium shoots, post-blue-jay attack

But since July has been mostly warm and sunny here in Portland, the plants are growing quickly. (After I sent a cell phone photo a couple weeks ago to my friend Jeff, his texted comment was: "There are lily pads in your dirt.") I might have over-planted the pot, but I was aiming for a thick cascade of trailing leaves and blossoms, come late summer. And with any luck, they will reseed themselves for next year, just as the lobelia did off a pot on the railing last year, now mingling among the nasturtiums, a future mix of blue and orange flowers for my troubles.

Speaking of gains out of troubles, here's some math for you:

2 English degrees + 1 global recession/depression + 77 job applications / 4 months = 1 steady, 30-hours-a-week job

Yes, that's right. I landed a job, the training starting next week. It's even a job doing good things in the world, rather than bad. And there are even some health benefits and lots of unpaid vacation time, perfect for writing, to look on the bright side. For now, at least, I'll keep teaching evenings at the college. It is all such a relief, and I feel humbled and grateful. It shouldn't be this hard for an educated person to find employment in modern society. But I'm proof that it can be.

ladybug upside-down on nasturtium leaf

Often in the job hunt, I felt like the ladybug I rescued one day from inside the house and dropped off on a nasturtium leaf. I came back to find her circling the edge of the leaf over and over, round and round, with no hope of heading anywhere outside the track she was crawling until she decided to spread her wings and take a leap.

ladybug on nasturtium leaf

Last week I was helping Jeff with his big garage sale (and sadly, kept forgetting my camera to document the process). This week, with only a few teaching hours, I'll be treasuring this one jeweled week of nearly stress-free summer vacation before the new job starts, lounging in the sun under a hat with a library book, going for walks to cut sweet peas and pick blackberries, blending up smoothies, practicing with the camera, knitting while watching films in the evening. I might even make it over to one of the mountains for a day hike.

Money is the root of so much worry and strife. One needs enough of it to cover the basics of food, shelter, safety, and health in order to enjoy rather than endure life. Otherwise, the mind centers on bare survival. And there's no fun or summer joy in that.


  1. Anonymous31/7/12 23:00

    YES! Congratulations! I can't wait to hear the details!! -Holly

  2. Thanks, Holly, for all your support and encouragement. Where would I be without my friends and family? :)


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