a vibrant batch of homemade chili oil

Latest batch of homemade chili oil giving me life, through taste, color, ritual, vibrancy, all the good things

A quick check-in

Hi friends, I hope you are doing okay with the TIME CHARADE (this is how my phone renamed “time change” this year, and I am sticking with it), or if not then I hope you are less of a wreck than I am.

And I hope you are finding good clues, finding some pleasure where you can, or whatever is most needed. We are doing some old-school wish processing this week, let’s wish some wishes…

Ode to St Carla


I love when I review old journals full of wishes and wish-processing from years gone by, only to discover yet again that I am, more often than not, wishing variations on past wishes, exploring variations on past explorations…

As if I am in a jazz combo and I am all the musicians at once, and we are jamming with each other.

We are playing (both meanings). And also: Jamming!

Yes, that is exactly what I mean. We are playing, we are running licks and improvising, messing around, iteration upon iteration, checking in on our favorite themes.

What if the act and process of Wishing is just an ongoing jam session? I think it might be.

Diving into an example

A wish I have returned to at many points over the years is a wish to spend way less time at grocery stores.

This is partly a wish about time and where it goes.

This is partly a wish about conserving energy.

It is a wish about the superpower of being Well Provisioned.

This is also a wish about not wanting to be perceived?

Maybe that’s not it exactly, but: something about the sensory overload of being in a grocery store environment, and something about how it’s hard for me to maintain good force fields in that environment.

Also: People like to talk to me in grocery stores and I wish they would not.


I wished this wish or a version of this wish quite often in pre-pandemic times.

Then it was partly about not ever wanting to leave my house, and partly about how much time it takes when you live an hour from town, and a lot about the brutal Arizona summer heat — 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 C) is not conducive for doing anything, never mind something that involves getting dressed, decision making or carrying heavy bags.

Then early pandemic was about being strategic, Safety First. Arranging to only go out twice a month, or less. You remember. The most fraught days.

Well Provisioned

In some ways this situation invited in a new form of this wish, or you could say it clarified new elements of what I had been wishing for in my various wishes — be more organized, have a well-stocked pantry, go out less often!

I became somewhat obsessed with superpower of Well Provisioned.

Have what you need. Well stocked. Prepared.

On the flip side, these days also brought food scarcity and anxiety (and the relationship between them, weeks when I was too depressed to go grocery shopping for example), and generally a lot of discomfort.

Circumstances kept shifting, and each new round of challenges made grocery shopping both more vital and less appealing. Circumstances etc.

Circumstances etc

There was the time my car had to be in the shop for much longer than anticipated, the nearest grocery was ten miles away, too far to walk in that heat, and I subsisted on oatmeal until it was done. An ordeal.

The next summer, I got a concussion the night before my planned grocery run. I couldn’t remember where the grocery store even was, and stayed in bed for ten days, surviving on whatever I could find in the cupboards at my house-sit until I could drive again.

That deeply miserable experience gave me a new reason to wish for a full and well-stocked pantry.

Do you think I learned from it though? Hahaha why would you think that.

Here we go again

The following summer, monsoon flooding did the same. Repeat!

Sometimes I need to learn the same lesson in a dozen iterations.

Eleven days in my tiny house. Venturing out to check on the flooded roads. Watching the supplies dwindle down until I was inventing things like “sure maybe this is kind of a soup” and “surprise rice”, and it got rougher than that.

But we made it. I’m still here. And even more devoted to well-stocked and well-provisioned.

Have I learned? I’m trying!


Here are my wins from going through these experiences.

I always have rice in the house and some beans, and oats.

And a stash of dried red chile peppers, because this is New Mexico.

Good spices. Cans of coconut milk. Dried fruit. Flax seed and various flours for baking.

A new form of urgency

So I’m slowly getting a better at stocking up.

And remembering why it’s important, instead of waiting until I’m out of everything to solve for food.

I am taking more pleasure in this, that feels important too. I like to be well-stocked and well-provisioned generally.

And also, now it feels more urgent.

This past summer, the sixth summer of wishing this wish, brought a new challenge, being accosted by strangers about my respirator.

There are the jokes (“You gonna to rob a bank?”) and the comments (“You don’t need that on your face, you’d look better without it”), and I hate it.

No, I really hate it

I dealt with the looks and being the only one in the store wearing a mask, but I draw the line at having to interact with people at all, never mind having to explain myself to them.

So now there’s a new layer of dread to grocery shopping, in addition to the effort, the drive, the ADHD challenges of executive function and coming up with a list, and just not wanting to do it, or not having energy…

I just don’t want to have these conversations with people who are so at ease with putting me in danger, and on top of that want to argue about it.


It is infuriating to me that I cannot afford to be sick or to get any more sick, and yet here I am.

Being disabled by covid has been life-altering and eye-opening, and it’s a fucking bummer to go into the world and be reminded that not only will people not do the minimum to protect me (and themselves), they actively want to challenge me, or to talk me out of the only safety measures I have. No thanks.

No thanks to that.

More feelings

I don’t like supermarkets, generally. They are too noisy for me, both visually and in the auditory sense.

People are rushed and not paying attention to where they are in space, it’s like everyone loses all proprioception.

And they are full of waste, or waste-to-be, a storehouse of things to be thrown away. Which is depressing.

The more I learn about how they work, the behind the scenes life of the workers, the conditions small companies need to fill in order to have shelf space, the more I am against the whole thing.

But whatever, reasons are bullshit, mainly it’s just that I don’t ever want to go.

I don’t want to go!

It’s too hot or too cold and I don’t want to put on sunscreen, and carry bags into from the car.

So one question that arises from wishing is how to be well-provisioned while going into town less often…

And another question is how to make these trips more enjoyable, less stressful, better protected, if that’s possible?

What does Carla think I should do

I was listening to an interview on the This Is Taste podcast, with Carla Lalli-Music, and I am not entirely sure why but I deeply wanted to dislike it, and then of course I loved it.

This is her approach: Any grocery item that doesn’t need to be seen or touched to know if it’s good, you just order it online.

For example, flour, sugar, olive oil, oats, rice, olives, any provisions that are pre-packaged and don’t need to be examined by you in person. You stock up your pantry over time and re-order when supplies get low.

For her, going to the market is purely for pleasure and sensory joy: a lighthearted adventure, an intuitive practice, you don’t have a long list of goods to acquire, you pop in to see what produce looks enticing, what is fresh, luscious, and appealing.

Excitement sparks

You fill up your basket with things you are excited to cook with, and then you go home and only have to carry in a couple bags.

You aren’t exhausted and depleted from the experience, and you don’t have to do the chore of putting everything away.

For her, you grocery-shop for joy items and freshness, you commune with what’s available, you get grocery items that are appealing, you are there for a quick yes.

And everything that doesn’t need you to smell it, touch it, and connect to it can be attained online.

St Carla the Wise, St Carla the Playful

I’ll be honest. A few years ago, I would have hated this approach.

First of all, because I am rebellious aka fuck you don’t tell me what to do.

And also because when I lived in cities, I felt strongly about shopping local, interacting with neighbors, being part of something.

But now I am older (in the sense of wiser? who can say), slower, tired, with less ability, and I live way out in the country in a tiny, tiny house that doesn’t have climate control.

And I care about different things like moving slowly, and the principle of what my dance teacher used to call Do Less To Get More. And of course, having quality ingredients on hand.

The right reminder at the right time

So her approach and advice were not right for me then, and now they are.

Now I can smile and say, THANK YOU, ST CARLA.

More than the approach (take it if it works for you, leave it if not), I appreciate this reminder.

The reminder in her approach for me is about the question of What Is Joy, and What Is Not Joy.

What is joy and what is not-joy

Joy, for me:

Ease of ease. I have what I need. I can be creative and playful.

Cooking is a source of joy for me. I can do a lot with a little.

Restriction is an art form too. Like a haiku.

Something about appreciating restriction and appreciating plenty at the same time. Use what you have.

And: making do is a kingdom.

Not-joy, for me:

Feeling rushed, anxious. Tightness.

Living on rice and oats for weeks.

Realizing I predictably forgot to get that one thing that I always forget. Or the other thing.

Each time I know that I need to go get groceries, but I simply cannot make myself.

(I just went into town the other day after eleven days of not going, and obviously I am a hero, braver than the marines, but what if it didn’t have to be like this?)

Talk to me, St Carla of Choose Ease

One of the reasons I love her approach so much is that it’s really about making a grocery run less of a chore and more pleasure-based.

You pantry-stock the boring necessities from the comfort of your home, and the grand adventure is to go out and procure something fun and special.

I like the idea of reducing dread, and also making these trips less hard on my shoulder (carrying bags), and spending less money on gas (traveling to town less often).

And of course, fewer uncomfortable interactions, amen.

What else is this about?

Of course this also plays with my big wish for a greenhouse.

To have an indoor vegetable garden, a garden space I don’t have to protect from frost or deer or elk or javelina.

This wish also intertwines with my wish for a washing machine! A greenhouse would be a place it could live without the pipes freezing.

A washing machine used weekly with natural soap would also supply enough water to feed four trees, fruit trees or nut trees.

A dreamy dream

I miss my long-ago job in the orchards so much (they are gone, but I am still here), and it would be so lovely to tend to fruit tree friends again.

And four is a good amount for someone like me who moves slowly these days, though I am still hoping and praying for energy to return, or something even better.

I know St Carla would be happy for me if I had a small greenhouse here, plant friends to talk to, herbs for cooking, vegetables for salad.

And a warm spot to visit in the winter.

A warm cozy spot

I can’t have plants in my house because there is no climate control, so I can only warm or cool one room at a time, all the plants I’ve tried to bring here have died.

But if I could visit them…wouldn’t that be beautiful and magical?

A reason to keep on keeping on, and god knows we are collecting as many of those as we can.

What a beautiful wish, what beautiful wishes

A hand-on-heart sigh for these beautiful wishes, a candle lit for these beautiful wishes.

I do not know how they will come to pass or when or in what form, or if at all, because that is the nature of wishing, and that’s okay.

Wishes are about clarity and clarifying, they are about refinement, they are about being brave enough to allow ourselves to want and make space for the wanting.

Wishes are more about questions than answers

They are more about questions than answers, and mainly they are about a process of getting honest with ourselves.

What’s working, what needs work? What am I really upset about or hurt over?

And what might help?

That’s a beautiful process, and that’s what makes wishing and wanting important human endeavors.

Calling on / in / up

Calling on superpowers, qualities and concepts to assist with the wishing…

  • I am Playful & Creative, Focused & Clear
  • Small steps (choose one!)
  • The instincts reveal themselves (can I let the instincts reveal themselves?)
  • What Would The Cowboy Do
  • Where is the treasure / what if this is all working out great actually
  • Hey, Surprise Good Mood
  • Let’s just clean one thing
  • Further Reductions (what can I let go of, what can I refine)
  • I Can Be Kind With Myself Today (or at least I can try)

A tiny holiday for anyone who needs one

Glowing loving birthday wishes for Walton Goggins (Friday, November 10) who, among many other things in his life, plays Boyd Crowder in Justified, my very favorite fictional villain.

Which basically confirms that Boyd Crowder is a scorpio, in my mind. I know that’s not how it works but I want it to be true, and really, what else would he be.

And while obviously we don’t necessarily want to emulate ruthless killers who are charming narcissists, here are the Boyd Crowder qualities I do want to invoke:

A way with words, deep love for home, looking out for yourself, always knowing what to say, somehow staying calm, alert, grounded and adaptable even in impossible situations. May it be so, or something even better.

Love, comfort, sweetness and warmth to Walton Goggins, god knows we all know what it’s like to have challenging and complicated grief-laden times in the calendar.

Here’s to new and better for all of us.

Other wishes, while we are wishing

All wishes are proxies for other wishes, and also there is room in the cauldron for as many wishes as we want, so let’s find out what else we are wishing for.

I suppose there’s no bigger cliche than “peace in the middle east”, but: as ever, a heartfelt wish for an end to this nightmare. An end to the killing of civilians, to the ongoing horrors. Safety and sanctuary for everyone involved. And of course, may the hostages be returned swiftly and safely. A wish for comfort, for new solutions.

While I am wishing wishes, I am wishing wishes related to American Thanksgiving, the second loneliest day of the year for me, coming up soon.

Wishing for ideas, for all the best ways to distract myself, comfort myself and make a delicious meal that is a delight to have with myself, after all a cowboy spends long stretches of time alone at the bunkhouse, what if I enjoy it?

Warmth, all meanings

I am wishing for better ways to stay warm this cold New Mexico mountain winter, and to glow warmth, in general.

And for better ways to be brave, but also for fewer reasons to be brave.

To appreciate all clues, to let them come in their timing. To let myself figure things out in my own timing.

And of course to live by the principles of St Carla, aka more joy, more ease, always learning more about how can I be even more kind with myself, towards myself.

What are your wishes, speaking of warmth?

What are your wishes? I am lighting a candle for them, and for your own investigative process, and whatever treasures are revealed from the act of wishing.

Oh wow, what beautiful wishes. I love to wish wishes with you.

Thank you, St Carla, thank you to the winding path, to all the many clues that land when they land, to receptivity, and to the tiny hope sparks that we keep cultivating, one breath at a time.

Come play in the comments, I appreciate the company

You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, or anything that helped or anything on your mind. Wishes you are wishing.

Or anything you’d like to toss into the wishing pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship always helps.

You can wish any wishes that come to mind (come to heart?), or echo “Oh wow, what beautiful wishes!” for my wishes or anyone else’s.

I’m happy you’re here with me.

Bonus question

I’m making progress on bonus material about how I relate to time and map out my quarters, let me know if there anything you want to know more about specifically? Drop any questions or thoughts here…

Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary (see below) will get these by email as soon as I finish editing, I hope soon.

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Working on some stuff to offer this coming year, but between traumatic brain injury recovery & Long Covid, slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share this with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

The Fluent Self