May 28, 2013

Comin' Home

Yep, this is exactly what Crabby looks like creating culinary magic in her kitchen!

What does it mean to be "home?"  And what the heck does that question have to do with health and fitness?

Oh, and speaking of home, we've also got a bit of blog "housekeeping" to catch up on, like announcing giveaway winners and other stuff.

So Where Does Crabby Call Home? 

As it happens, home is a somewhat confusing concept for me.

Supportive and patient Cranketeers may recall that the Crab and Lobster live on two different coasts; half the year in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, CA and the other half the year we spend in Provincetown, MA.  We have moved around a fair amount in our lives, and frequently visit family in the San Francisco Bay Area, and embark on extended house swaps to different countries, and like to travel around in a campervan for weeks and sometimes even months at a time.


And believe me, we ain't complainin'! 

But having just recently arrived in Ptown as I write this, I'm still in the stage where I look for the garlic press in drawer where the dish towels live, accidentally turn up the hot water in the shower when it's already scalding, and wake up in the middle of the night not sure which way the bathroom is. It's a bit disorienting.  Everything is familiar, yet obviously not 100% familiar or I wouldn't be scratching my head trying to remember when the recycling dudes come or what nights the library stays open past 5 p.m.

Plus there are people and places and things that I was very fond of in San Diego. They are not Here.  I miss them!

 My personal canyon when I want to take a walk.

Weird plants that don't grow so well in New England.

And yet in a few days, I will be reacquainted with all the people and places and things I am fond of Here that weren't There.

Not a bad view when off for a run.

San Diego is sadly lacking in Hat Sisters.

So within a few more days, I will make the transition and this place will feel like "home" again. Sort of. Because the flip side of having a lot of places to call home is that there is no single physical place that ever feels like 100% home.  When someone asks where we live, there is usually an awkward moment of uncertainty as we try to figure out what the answer is.

But we absolutely love the feeling of adventure and rediscovery and the freshness that the wayfaring lifestyle provides.  

And I don't think we're alone: home is a complicated concept for a lot of people. Not just those weird enough to voluntarily uproot their lives several times a year and make odd employment and lifestyle compromises and regularly abandon their friends and loved ones.  Many folks have employment or health or family situations that require them to relocate frequently or live in places that do not initially feel anything like "home."

How do you find home wherever you are?

Some of these rambling thoughts were inspired by Rick Hanson's Just One Thing newsletter. (I can't link to directly but you can sign up for it yourself for free). The last one includes an exploration of the notion of "home," not as not simply a geographical location, but as a distinct psychological and physiological state.

To summarize inelegantly and perhaps inaccurately: leaving "home" and responding to challenges and disruption is a necessary part of life! However, it is not healthy to feel chronically stressed and emotionally "homeless."  The ability to find a mental sense of home, regardless of environment or circumstances, is a nifty practice to become conversant with, and Rick offers some helpful suggestions. These, not surprisingly, involve mindfulness and an appreciation of the present moment.   Practicing as he suggests may lead to calmness, contentment, and caring, which sure beats feeling like a tweaked-out inadequate harassed grumpbunny.

But aside from the Mindfulness thing, which I am duly f--king working on thanks to the constant reminders by every self-improvement expert on the planet, "home" for me has some other more salient criteria.

Home is Where the... Elliptical is?


Well, not quite, but it's almost embarrassing that so much of what I need to feel "settled" involves an environment conducive to health and fitness.  Ironically, one of the least healthy of my habits is the almost obsessive need to ensure access to certain foods, exercise opportunities, sleeping conditions, etc.  Note: this doesn't mean I always take advantage of all the healthy options! But I have to know that I COULD or I just don't feel like I'm home yet.


Important People, Places and Things

These do not have to stay the same all year but there are certain foundations that seem to support the feeling of truly being home.  The Lobster, obviously.  And fun, down-to-earth friends.  The ability to make coffee.  A walkable, preferably gay-friendly 'hood with a vibrant, alternative vibe.  And beautiful natural spaces close by with trees and flowers and birds and critters and water and blue skies and fluffy clouds.

How lucky am I to get to travel around and yet to keep finding this magical sort of environment over and over in so many different places? If there's afterlife and any justice in the universe, I suspect I'm due to come back as a maggot or protozoa or something.

 Dang, now I'll NEVER find headphones that fit.

And... of, course, I need the Cranketeers!

While I am a notoriously lazy and inconsistent blogger, when I am away from Cranky Fitness more than a day or two, I start feeling a little twitchy.  Cranky Fitness is one of my favorite homes! It's hard to describe how grateful I feel for all of you who make this place so warm and fun and homey.  With the annual schlep east I missed being online for Death Ride Grandma's awesome guest post, but felt like the luckiest blogger in the blogosphere when I got to read all the comments.

And now that I'm at least a little bit unpacked I'll be jumping into the comments again, and I'm looking forward to chattin' with y'all!

OK, now it's Housekeeping Time:

Wait, you're supposed to clean them?

Giveaway winners:

The Koss headphones go to:  Helen Messer.

And the "Up and Running" online running course goes to: Toolie and Lazy Girl Goes Running.

Congrats! Please email to check in by the end of the day Friday May 31st!  See the schmooze page for the Secret Email address.

Next Goal Support Post:

Will (I hope) be appearing June 3rd. 

So what do you guys need in order to feel "home"?

Retro Ads via: Plan59

59 comments:

  1. Home is crazy kids, my Bible, Ol' Bessy (my aging, ailing laptop), and some sunshine. Welcome back, hope it was a nice trip.

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    1. "Ol' Bessy" is such an awesome name for a laptop! And love your list.

      And thanks!

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  2. I've always liked Billy Joel's "You're My Home."

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    1. Dang you Dr. J, whenever I hear Billy Joel's name I get "you Catholic girls start much too late" as an earworm and now that's gonna be stuck in my head all day. :)

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    2. My favorite lyrics by Billy Joel are from the Piano Man (great song)

      "And the waitress is practicing politics
      As the businessmen slowly get stoned
      Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
      But it's better than drinkin' alone"

      and

      "There's an old man sitting next to me
      Makin' love to his tonic and gin"

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    3. This is good too:

      "Well we all fall in love
      But we disregard the danger
      Though we share so many secrets
      There are some we never tell
      Why were you so surprised
      That you never saw the stranger
      Did you ever let your lover see
      The stranger in yourself?"

      Who started this conv' on Billy Joel?! I got ALL his songs as an earworm now!

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    4. Billy Joel's The Stranger album was IT for my best friend and I in high school...she was just visiting last week, and those songs STILL sound great.

      Home is being around my people. :)

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    5. Love that song - good call, Dr. J!

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    6. Who knew there were so many closet Billy Joel fans amongst the Cranketeers? :) But I love you all just the way you are...

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    7. Crabby! Try Frank Zappa's "Catholic Girls" some time :-)

      @ OSTF! Thank you!

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  3. Books. On shelves, arranged so I can find them. (Not there yet after this move.) Coffee! Oh,wait, maybe that's not "home", but "functional." Good light. Silence.

    Sadly, SD seems not to be the only place lacking Hat Sisters. We need more Hat Sisters!

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

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    1. Good light. Silence.

      What simple but wonderful things Mary Anne!

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  4. Beautiful pictures!

    Being a nomad at heart, and having a cameleon personality, I don't need much to feel at home pretty much anywhere. I'm more a "On the road again" girl. The only thing I miss when I travel is... my laundry room! (I actually like doing laundry more than cooking!)

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    1. Another nomad, yay HSH! It's a hard thing for a lot of folks to understand.

      And hadn't thought about laundy, but reasonably clean clothes are definitely on the "must have" list. Not that we don't go pretty grunging while camping, but that part doesn't feel quite as "homey."

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    2. BTW I've been to Provincetown a few times! The great Boston area was our Easter weekend destination each year with my parents. :-)

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  5. I know this is very cliche - but for me I need my family!! I've lived in Kansas for 13+ years now but I don't consider it my home - anytime someone asks me where I'm from, I always say - TEXAS!!! I only live in KS so I can live with my husband (see, family!).
    BTW - the opening picture is exactly how I picture you in your domestic goddess mode!!

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    1. Not cliche at all Kim! And that's great that you have such close family ties.

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    2. I do that too - I moved away from my home province in 1997, but when people ask where I'm from I still say that I live in New Brunswick, but I'm originally from Nova Scotia. That's where my roots are. I have made a home where I am now, but I still feel the pull, like I'm not quite where I belong.

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  6. As a teenager & young adult I always pictured myself moving around the country to live & work in all the different places that seemed so vibrant & interesting. A part of me envies you that opportunity, but I wouldn't trade (most days anyway!) my wonderful daughters, puppy who eats everything, and very understanding hubby. Home is where they are. And where the never-ending To-Do list resides :)

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    1. Ah yes, the absence of baby crustaceans in the Crab/Lobster household makes things a lot more portable. But from what I understand, raising kids means EVERY day's an adventure!

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  7. This is such a timely post for me. The hope is that we'll be moving soon.. if we ever find our place. I'll be living a few hours from what has been home for the past 29 years, to an environment that offers much of what I need to call a place home.. but not most of my people. Thank goodness for the internet which narrows the distance gap in many ways. And like you said, the connection to bloggie people remains unchanged.

    I love your west coast canyon and your eastern view. Such gorgeous places and fine photos. Enjoy your time on the east coast. I know you will. And congrats to the giveaway winners. :)

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    1. Thanks Hilary, and hope you find a wonderful place to hang your hat!

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  8. Gee I may need professional help. When I thought about what is home for me I thought of my Lazy-boy. I may need to give it a viking burial at sea in order to give it up. The second thing I thought of was my smart phone as I always instinctively know where it is. It's like it has a gravitational pull.

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    1. Too funny about the LazyBoy Cindy! But hell, if that's home, then I say go ahead and cherish it. On the other hand, the burial at sea sounds like an awesome sort of last rite, and I picture tired turtles sacking out on it at the bottom of the sea.

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  9. The most confused period of my life home-wise was when I was based in Ireland but living and working in Germany... Depending on exactly where I was, who I was speaking to and in what context, "home" could mean my apartment in Dresden, Dresden itself, Germany, Ireland, England or my parent's house.

    Nowadays I'm another one for whom "home" and "my family" are pretty much interchangeable concepts, though a guitar (not necessarily mine) and internet access are also pretty much essentials. Otherwise, if I can get a beer out of the fridge without asking permission, I'm home. #8-)

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    1. Shadowduck I think that's the best description EVER: "if I can get a beer out of the fridge without asking permission, I'm home."

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  10. I bet we have something similar to the Hat Sisters during the Pride Parade, but since that's in July you're all the way on the other coast! (By the way, a few years ago I walked in the parade with my company's float handing out bottled water - the day was really warm, and I have never felt like everyone's BEST FRIEND like I did when I could hand a sweaty person a bottle of water!)

    Home. Man, I don't know. I've only lived in two cities, both in Southern California. So that's really my home - being close to the Pacific, being close to Mexico. I do own my own home (condo) but I'm not sure that in and of itself makes it "home" especially. Home for me is familiarity, so it's a place I know where to get and do things.

    Actually, now that I think about that, this is an interesting insight. Every once in awhile, when we travel, I find a place that I think "yeah, I could live here." There are very few places, in fact I can think of only two cities where I said that (Seattle and London - talk about places that aren't like Southern California!). I wonder if it's because I found it easy to navigate and get what I wanted. Hmmm....

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    1. I always regret missing San Diego pride as it has the reputation as being one of the most fun and friendly and all-around great ones out there.

      Interesting that a SoCalGal like you is also drawn to Seattle and London! Actually, if you add up San Diego and Seattle and divide by two, you end up in San Francisco, which is pretty darn cool. They even have decent Mexican food. Not so sure about London... :)

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    2. On a day when it's 97 degrees at my house, San Francisco seems like a wise choice, because it will inevitably still be foggy a 62 there! And while I had great food in London, none of it was Mexican. That would probably be something I would miss.

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  11. I think home right now is where Nim is. But it has changed at different times in my life. Where I physically live right now often doesn't feel like home.

    You have two such beautiful places to live! It is stunning to me just how fast time has gone by.

    Glad you are settling in. :)

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    1. QD, I sometimes have the feeling you and Nim (and the cats) will someday end up somewhere that feels like a better fit... or perhaps in more than one place!

      But it does seem like with your hiking and cooking and crafty skills you do a great job of making yourself at "home."

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    2. I sure empathize with living where it doesn't feel like home. I haven't felt like I have lived at home since shortly after leaving my parents home when I was...forty years younger! I have moved way too often. Just when I *think* I am home I up and move, often not really by choice.

      I think I will feel home when I can paint a wall without thinking "Will the new owners like this color when we have to sell the house?" and when I can plant a lilac bush and watch it grow and bloom.

      I am not sure where home is. We tried to make that happen here but after five years we want to leave more and more. Now I just hope to live long enough to FIND "home" and then to enjoy living there without wondering who will live there after me. lol

      I do hope that home ends up being closer to my kids. I haven't seen two of them since July of 2011 and the oldest one did pop in for an overnight stay on his way through a little over a year ago. Of course the youngest still lives with us.

      I am working on all the 'pieces' that will make my future home, homey though!

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    3. Thanks! I do hope to eventually have a better fit - emotionally and physically. And you are right, more than one place is probably going to suit me just fine.

      That is fun Sherri to think about all the 'pieces' (quilt reference?) that will make your future home, homey. Kind of a good visualization exercise.

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    4. Love these salient ways you guys have of capturing what home is and isn't, stuff I never thought of. Sherri, the "what color can you paint the wall" test is very telling!

      And the quilting analogy is very cool; it takes a lot of stitching together of various elements, and the best and most creative quilts often contain some surprising juxtapositions!

      Good luck to both of you in finding "home."

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  12. What does it take for me to feel at home?....

    * A familiar cup or bowl that is just the right size/type.
    * Little daily personal 'rituals' (hot bath each night; setting a nice little plate/table for myself).
    * NPR & and my trustly, little Tivoli radio.
    * A few articles of clothing that just seem to make me feel good.
    * The feeling that I can safely walk, run, trot, explore my environs without trepidation/constantly looking over my shoulder.
    * The people I love are never more than a phone call or email away (despite physical distance) - so, I'm good there and, gratefuly, can travel, if needed or desired, to see those who aren't local:).
    * Nice servers at the local coffee joint who come to know my name and my "usual". Having access to good, healthy food.
    * I like finding ways to make things that are a bit shabby, broken, etc... contribute to making more of a 'home'. So - oddly - trips to Goodwill and then the local hardware store feel like a real treat AND have the bonus of a result that makes wherever I am feel more "home". Maybe that's 'nest building'?

    I, too, obsess about access to fitness options and health foods I'm familiar with and enjoy. But I've also found that I sort of enjoy the challenge of McGiver-ing various circumstances or situations in terms of working out.(Makes me feel more creative/intelligent than maybe I actually am....) But -the food stuff can turn me into an absolutely bat-shit, obsessed crazy lady. Go figure...


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    1. Anon, I think we are birds of a feather as so much of this comment resonated. Though your McGiverishness is way higher than mine. If I try to salvage something from good will, it ends up looking like... something salvaged from good will. :)

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  13. Death Ride GrandmaMay 28, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Home is family, mostly. I love that you are addressing one of my pet peeves: the tendency of the real estate business to use "house" and "home" interchangeably. That has seemed to me to be a significant loss to our language. Home is far more than a house.

    On the lighter side, when we spent 92 days roaming across the continent on our bikes, I woke up in 60+ different places, and every time, I was able to find the bathroom in the night and wake up knowing where I was. When I got home, I woke up the second night and was very confused - had no clue where I was. So I guess home is where I can really let go of everything and sleep soundly.

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    1. DRG, great point about the real estate use of "home." And funny how much the whole art of staging is about trying to sell a "home" when all the buyers are gonna get is a house--they'll have to MAKE it home.

      And thanks for pointing out that I could reframe my middle of the night bathroom confusion as actually a sign of comfort and sound sleep! I'm going with that. :)

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    2. I had to add here that when we lived in our RV (23' Class C) for six weeks with our then seven yr old son, three dogs (2 rat terrors and one German Shepherd) and THREE cats...we felt more at home than we do now. lol (cross country move from CA to AR with no house to move into when we got here!)

      I know I could be happy in an RV again...maybe not with ALL those animals though. hehehehe We had to sell our RV about two years ago. I would have no issue buying one again when we leave here. In fact, I can almost see us traveling from (adult) kid to kid, across the country in a few more years. :D That thought makes me happy.

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    3. Sherri, what a great vision! And I bet you'll make it happen!

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  14. I LOVED this post Jan! As much as it is like you, it felt different as well - more open although you are open, L), but more - like I was there with you - very cool!

    I moved a lot as a kid - 4 times & it did take it's toll on a kid having to make new friends...

    I am not sure what I need to feel home - just being honest - I guess my hubby. We have always rented/leased so I never really felt like I had my own home in that sense... I guess just hubby is good enough. :)

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    1. Hey Jody, thanks so much! I worry sometimes that as I'm veering more and more into the personal arena I'm boring people to tears, so thanks for the kind words.

      Seems like you have such a great energy that lights up whereever you go that I imagine you could make a "home" anywhere! And love the way your hubby is such an integral part of your life... happy marriages ROCK.

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  15. That's lovely Jan. Traveling and experiencing so many different places & things makes you appreciate so much more in life. This also leads to a greater appreciation of "home" :)

    I'm sure we can all relate with the fitness side too. You can quickly turn a new/strange place into a "homey" place once you have the fitness side covered.

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    1. Thanks Melissa!

      And yeah, there's nothing like mixing things up to help really appreciate wherever you are. But certain things feel pretty nonnegotiable!

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  16. Home is where we can be who we really are without having to worry if some people might see and criticize us.

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  17. I suppose the obvious answer is were my family is but thinking about it, it is anywhere where I feel relaxed and feel like I'm not going to be judged.

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  18. Home is where the heart is.
    Such wonderful pictures.
    The Hat Sisters look amazing.
    It's great to find the feeling of home every once in a while.

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  19. I find it so exciting that you are bi-coastal! Nice weather all year round for you and the Lobster.

    I will have to consider what home is to me...I have been a renter all my adult life, there is currently nothing hanging on the walls, and I could leave without a regret...home must be a feeling inside of me more than my surroundings.

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    1. Interesting that you keep your physical surroundings so unencumbered... sounds like you are free to travel lightly in the world Kimberley! Seems kinda Zen or something. Or a sign of many adventures to come? So many people feel too rooted to take off for the unknown...

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  20. Hi Cranky:-). For me, all I need to feel at home is my wife, a cup of coffee, a place to sit and lounge and some good reading. I've moved around a bit in my life too, currently living in South Korea. It's interesting to think about the things that make us feel at home. I suppose the less it takes, the more mobile you can be, right? Thanks for the post!

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  21. Home is where the heart is! If I have my family around me I can feel at home anywhere, but somewhere quiet with great scenery is always best!

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  22. Wow, looks like an amazing time. I feel you with regards to having to have a sense of homeliness; I'm a big fan of a fitness environment to make myself feel at home just like you :)

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  23. See the nice weather I ordered special for you hard-shelled West Coast crustaceans??? :)

    Hope you are getting settled in.

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    1. Thanks Norma, the sun is finally shining, yay! Glad to hear you ordered it up.

      The settling process seems to be SLOW this year, but eventually everything will get sorted out. Hoping to see ya this summer when we get our act together a little better!

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  24. I have a home here, where I am now. I got married here, made friends here, bought a house here, it's where I have worked and lived for almost 14 years now.

    But the house that I grew up in is still home too. And, oddly enough, when I manage to get back to the National Park where my family went camping every summer as far back as I can remember, it feels like coming home.

    Which makes me think that for me, home has a lot to do with history. Makes sense because I don't like unfamiliar surroundings, I hate moving, I have a hard time with change.

    Interesting question!

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  25. And an interesting answer JavaChick! Love that you know yourself so well and how important that sense of history is to you.

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  26. WOw !! what a nice article. I really so enjoyed this nice picture and article.

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