February 19, 2014

Ramblin' Again

By Crabby McSlacker

Regular readers may be familiar with the Cranky Fitness Camera-Phone Dump by now, but if you are new here and confused, here's the deal:

1. Lazy Fitness Blogger goes on the road to vacation somewhere or visit relatives;

2. Instead of doing research on breaking health news or rounding up useful tips, said blogger wanders around her environs and occasionally remembers to take out the phone and aim it at something random;

3. Lazy Fitness Blogger then publishes the photos in lieu of a real post and tries to fabricate some connection between the random shots and heath and fitness and...

4. Lovely Cranky Fitness Readers are too polite and friendly to say anything mean about it, no matter what they may actually think. It's only a coincidence that 3/4th of them are Canadian.

So yeah, I'm in the San Francisco bay area, and sandwiched between some family reunions and birthdays I spent a mostly overcast day yesterday walking around.

Quick Quiz: First up, can you guess what these two buildings have in common?

Answer: Did you guess: Crabby once worked in both of them years ago writing boring law books and goofing off a lot with fun coworkers? And that she has lots of random memories from these times (nearly 30 years ago, sheesh!) that got stirred when she walked by?

Health and Fitness Connection?  Taking walks down memory lane does interesting things to brains and these things are probably healthy! (Plus bonus points for guy doing Tai Chi in photo #1.)

There must be a study somewhere that supports my theory, right? Because walking around old familiar areas did interesting things to my brain. And we've already established that everyone else should think exactly the way I do.

It's healthy mental exercise, I'd argue, recalling almost forgotten sights and sounds and smells from years ago, but then also noticing that some things are different now.

Can you spot what's changed recently?

Metacognition: Plus, realizing that the observing and processing brain itself is different than before, and then further realizing all the memories are going to be re-stored in the brain yet again in a totally different context and that this may actually reinvigorate but also mess with the old material...

I think this kind of meta-mind-fuck is good for a middle aged brain every once in a while. Thinking about Thinking may even be related to mindfulness meditation! Remotely, but whatever.

The Power of Focus and Specificity:  Fisherman's Wharf has both young adult and childhood associations, though they are very vague and gray and random, with no specific focal point, kinda like this photo...

But when I saw the sign for a restaurant something lit up!

It was a fresher, brighter reminder because it was specific and right in front of my face. I'd had no idea that the name "Scoma's" was even still in my brain but apparently it was and I conjured up some foggy recollection of having gone there!

Health Connection:  when trying to get fit, getting specific about plans and goals and good and bad consequences of your actions is always a good idea, right? OK, yeah, there actually is no connection between Fisherman's wharf and fitness. Screw it, I was walking there, let's go with that shall we?

Delicious Memories:
This next building brought back recollections over many, many years.  Most of them involve hot fudge sundaes.

Health Connection? Well, it is a reminder that even someone with a basically healthy diet can eat "bad" things in moderation and not keel over and die for at least a few more decades. It's also an example of something that was once thought unhealthy being redeemed as a health food. Not the noble hot fudge sundae, alas, but at least dark chocolate--which Ghirardelli does indeed make.

Public Art:

Some of it I find quite likable! This was not there in my youth, a reminder that change is not always something to fear.

However, I am always amazed that this THING pictured below survives the passing decades. Up close it is quite hideous and I always fear tourists will see it and flee in horror never to return and spend their money in S.F. again.

And yet, in the above photo, which is too small and dim to properly show the rust and birdshit and metal spikes and general decrepitude of it... it actually looks, um, not so awful! And maybe if you work near it and see it every day you stop noticing the off-putting exterior and get used to it being there, solid and reassuring and enduring year after year.

Health And Fitness Connection?  You can get used to anything no matter how repugnant it seems when you first encounter it, apparently. Good news for those of you contemplating a brand new healthy diet and exercise program!

Older People Staying Active

I didn't want to intrude so this is taken from too far away to see that some of these women were dancing to some sort of exotic Asian music and others were doing Tai Chi and they were just generally being active and healthy.  

Keep up the good work, tiny blurry park ladies!


This was an empty bench that reminded me to sit down and listen a guided meditation for a very pleasant 20 minutes! That's healthy, right?

Stay Hydrated

Always good to think about on a long walk, and I got even more motivated when I discovered this:

Yes, it was a spotless public restroom with no line, a rare sight along a busy tourist walkway, hooray!

Sayin' Hi

Guess who I got to meet in person?

Yep, it's Death Ride Grandma!

And no, she did not hoist her bike aloft during our lunch, but I forgot to harass our waiter and ask for a photo.  As it turns out, she is as nice In Real Life as she is in the Cranky Fitness comment section and in her inspiring guest posts! It is also a good reminder for a shy person like me that it is worthwhile sometimes to "stretch" a bit and take a shot at interacting with folks outside the relative anonymity of the Worldwide Web.  It was fun!

Ramblin' Around Visiting Your Past Is Actually Good Exercise!

I took a huge crapload of steps walking down memory lane, and yet it didn't seem at all like "exercise." Yay!

Big Apology: I've been spotty about web visits and comment reply and may be out and about today as well, but plan to be back at my trusty laptop and check in better tomorrow.  And then we're off for the weekend to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday... let's see if that turns into a blog post shall we? Lucky readers!

Anyone else ever go "back in time" and revisit old sights and neighborhoods? Or have thoughts about San Francisco in particular?


  1. Never got to San Francisco when I lived there, I just lived in Long Beach and San Diego area. I went back to California probably about 10 years ago and Long Beach was so different, I had a hard time with how much it had changed from when I lived there. I lived in Mass for a long time so when I moved back to NH and my hometown at first it was like I had never lived there, I had a hard time finding things and names of streets threw me off. But now that I have been back for a few years, it's like I never left.

  2. Dang - even without all the other fitness you pointed out - just walking through memory lane was pretty awesome - over 30,000 steps!!!
    Happy 80th birthday to your MOM!!!

  3. The explosion of Walmarts and other big box stores coming to Canada means that I sometimes get lost driving in my old neighborhoods. One minute your taking the short cut to your old High school and the next you have entered an alternate dimension that wasn't there before and you have no idea how to get back to the place you where before. You keep driving and bam you are back in the world you know.
    I often find myself apologizing to friends who visit about sites that don't measure up anymore, like it is my fault it is not still shiny and new.

  4. Bahaha, I was about to write something nice about your posts always being super interesting no matter what you talk about or what pictures you post... and then I read about the Canadian thing. :-p

  5. I love San Francisco. It has (or 32 years ago had) a wonderful feel to it. Interestingly enough abuut memories, I've been to Ghirardelli and was just now finishing up a bit of breakfast chocolate when I came to your photo of same. Excellent reinforcement.

  6. A walk down memory lane sounds like good mental exercise to me, and what good is a healthy body without a healthy mind to tell it what to do?

  7. Public art and the health and fitness connection, love that one. That certain repugnantness toward exercise that eventually leads to obliviousness is how many trainers stay in business ;) And I have to agree with what messymimi posted, a healthy body is of no use with an unhealthy mind! Keep on strolling!

  8. I've been to San Fran many times! Favorite US city, and all the surrounding places are wonderful too!

  9. PS. The last time there I biked from the Embarcadero over the Golden Gate to Sausalido, then came back by ferry!! I'm sure DRG knows that beautiful route!

    1. I certainly do, Dr. J. It was the first longish ride my husband ever took me on, and it is now my commute route! I will ride it twice tomorrow and be thrilled once again every time I do it.

  10. OMG - I was at SFO (waiting for 2nd leg of trip back to Seattle from Las Vegas) YESTERDAY and, dang... apparently missed a chance to meet you and DRG :(.

    Anyway - LOVE your trip photos :)

  11. Love this trip down memory lane - yours, and a bit of mine (I spent a lot of time in SF during my yoot).

  12. I say no apologies - enjoy life!!! I think SF is a very cool city!!! I think of bread not chocolate - go figure from this bread lover! :)

    Love your random posts - I love vicariously thru them!

  13. Hi Crabby! One of the "fun coworkers" who misses goofing off with you here! Glad you had such a great walk along the beautiful Embarcadero. Enjoy your mom's 80th birthday. With her longevity genes, and all your healthy habits, we'll be celebrating yours someday too.

  14. I love SF! It's a great city to be car-less in. And now that I have my own fitbit, I know how impressive 30K steps in a day is!

  15. Yes, definitely. And the me from 30 years ago is so familiar to the now me, that it feels like she should know me as well as I know her! It does feel like time travel when I go back to CA.


  16. I had fun talking about all the shops and stores that aren't there any more in my hometown with a friend yesterday. That was a nice jog down memory lane. Lame I know. I went sailing for the first time! out of my comfort zone that's for sure. We took our "memory jog" on the sailboat out of Oxnard, California. Not SF but nobody's perfect. Sunny on the way out, cloudy but fun on the way back.

  17. Crabby, it was a huge treat for me to get to meet my favorite blogger! We had such a great chat - I was blown away when I realized how long I had kept you at that rather chilly table. I wanted to rush in this morning to see more about your trip - but as I told you, we were babysitting grandchildren and somehow the computer was elusive. Yesterday was a great day - thanks!

  18. Love, love, love San Francisco! I grew up in the east bay and spent about 2 years in the city before moving to SD. If you have some time, check out the new Exploratorium- they moved to the piers and it's such a fun place. I recommend trying to get to one of their evening events where you can drink and you don't have to push small children out of the way when you want to play with the exhibits. :)

  19. Hi Everyone!!!

    I may try to get back to respond more individually to some of these, because I loved these comments and hearing your own "memory lane" moments.

    Had another long ramble yesterday through the lower Haight, Haight, Inner Sunset and Golden Gate park and met an old friend for coffee... yet you may be relieved to hear I ACCIDENTALLY LEFT MY CELL PHONE IN THE CAR!

    Thus you are spared another photo dump. It was even a sunny day so there would have been 83,000 or so photos.

    Thank you all so much for stopping by!!

  20. I'm jealous of your getting to meet DRG in person! Happy Mother's Birthday, Crabby.

    At first glance I loved the THING, until I saw the part about "rust and birdshit and metal spikes and general decrepitude" which would ruin it as public exercise equipment. My first impulse was to climb all over it.

  21. Nice on the guided meditation! I love the Crabby pic dumps...it is like taking a free trip.

    San Francisco looks lovely...I like anything near water and palm trees are icing on the cake for me. Not sure I will ever get there. Maybe Amtrak will get me there. Who knows?

    I love public washrooms! I always need one. I wish they had washrooms in the woods so I could take longer hikes. Depend undergarments are NOT an option at this time.

  22. I forgot to express my excitement about you and DRG having a meet and greet! Very cool indeed!

  23. This Canadian is barging in (excuse me... sorry) to say that I think nostalgic visits are indeed very good for the soul. As is Ghirardelli chocolate (which I had in a brownie yesterday). I'm glad you had a fun visit back there. :)


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