The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen

Before coming to Spain I had not really heard about the architect (that word doesn’t begin to cover it, he is an artist, designer, visionary, benefactor, and magical person) Antonio Gaudi. I had seen pictures of Park Guell and was charmed by its whimsy. I knew the Sagrada Familia was his most known work, the unfinished church. I bought tickets ages ago to get in, because Rick Steves (or as Chrystal refers to him, my travel boyfriend) told me to. I thought the outside was intense and imposing. I appreciate it, but wouldn’t call it beautiful at first sight. It’s interesting…


We had 9am tickets with the audio tour and were in line ready to go several minutes early. I made Chrystal leave 20 minutes early even though our apartment was half a block from the church. You never know!  We grabbed our audio guides (much preferred by me than a person tour guide) and said we’d catch up with each other at the end. 

Chrystal said it best when she said she can’t explain the design, she just knows everything is exactly as it should be. I agree. Every inch of the building has a deliberate design element. The sculptures tell a story, the use of materials tells a story. Hearing these elements explained make me appreciate the kind of craggy looking facade so much more.

But nothing prepared me for walking inside. And no pictures will evoke the same feeling for me, or for you, sadly. I just know that when I walked in I stopped: breathing, walking, listening, worrying.  The only thing I could do was stare at this church. As brown and scraggly as the outside can appear, the inside is smooth and bright and colorful in the most elegant way. 



It is exactly as it should be. Chrystal and I found each other once on the inside, just to pause our audio guides and confirm that the other one was as impressed as we were. Then we carried on. I didn’t want to leave this beautiful space. I sat on a bench inside for a while and let myself just be still. It was really quite the experience.

I met Chrystal back at the apartment a bit later and we planned the rest of our day. My itinerary had the option for the Picasso museum and exploring the Born district, Chrystal said we really should see Picasso while we’re here, so I pulled up the site and bought tickets for the next available time slot which was 2pm that afternoon. We started wandering down that way.

The Picasso museum is in what you and I would call an alley, but Barcelona calls a street in the old district. It had a very nondescript facade. I probably would have walked right past it if not for coming up in a line of over 200 ppl. Uhhhhhh…. Was this the line for ppl with advance tickets? It was not. Chrystal and I went to a different entrance and walked right in. I continue to be flummoxed by this. I bought tickets at 11am that morning. At least half that line was on a smartphone. Why would they wait in a 2 hour queue? I cannot understand this.

I learned a lot at the Picasso museum. I have a much better appreciation for his work, can explain the different phases of his career, etc. He had a very long career, was artistically significant for a lot of years.

Then we wandered. We were going to ear at Arcana at 7, so strolled through the Born district until then. Chrystal was learning just what it really meant when I tell her I like to walk everywhere we go. We decided to kill some time by eating dessert first and had our first churros con chocolate. I did not hate it.
We wandered into the gift shop of this small museum and I saw a Gaudi figurine. Now that I’ve been so moved and inspired by two of his works I thought I should get this little figure and he could watch over me and send magical creative inspiration my way. Then it seemed strange to do that, and I thought I’ll just get a picture of Gaudi and put him in a frame at work. I’ll tell people it’s my boyfriend. That’s far less strange, yes?
We finally got to dinner. Neither of us were starving (see churros con chocolate above) so we split some of the Catalan tomato bread and I had this incredible salad.
I’ve been trying pretty hard to not be the crazy American who takes all these pictures of her food, but it was so pretty, and so delicious! You’ll be happy to know that last night (which was Tuesday as I’m finishing this post about Sunday on Wednesday morning) we went to this excellent multi course meal and I took NO pictures. I just enjoyed dinner. It was nice.

We walked home after dinner. Past the Spanish arc de Triumphe (still don’t know why they have one) and went to bed early. Jet lag had hit us. Plus the 9 miles I made Chrystal walk that day.

With that, I’m off to catch a train to Madrid! I may use that time to recap Monday. Stay tuned…

I am changed for good

Good travel should really move you, yes? Not physically move you to a new location, but grow you, expand your mind, build your experience. I am wrapping up the third full day in Spain and want to do a little recapping, mostly to help myself recall it all later.  I’ll try to keep it mostly pictures this post since I don’t love typing on an iPad. 

Because our apartment wouldn’t let us get in until 4, we had to get a little creative with the first day. I generally am annoyed by making inefficient routes. When I run errands I start at the farthest away and work my way home. I tried to cluster events on our itinerary this way too. No such luck.

We took a cab from airport to a luggage storage facility (another sore point, I hired a car service to do this. No car service appeared. I confirmed 2 days prior. I was a touch cranky right off the bat. Mostly because I didn’t want Chrystal wondering what else I may have actually not handled like I said I had. I always roll with a plan B, but I did just need a minute to regroup there.) We walked around just a little bit and then grabbed a ticket on the hop in/hop off bus. I thought this would be a nice way to get oriented to the city and we could see Montjuic, which I didn’t have on the original itinerary. We rode around and did hope off to see the Montjuic castle. Which we never found. But we sure did walk uphill a lot. We were close, it’s just a decision had to be made. We needed to get back to the bus and get up to Park Guell. They have timed tickets and we had to be there by 2:30.

I loved Park Guell! So, so much. It’s whimsical and intentional and symbolic and I just really want to rent the whole thing out and have one heck of a party. Most of my pics of it are on my good camera, so more later when I download them. A theme I would learn is that Gaudi creates in a way that is impossible to explain, you just have to come experience it.

Once we were done with the park we got a cab back to our luggage, then up to our apartment. This is Chrystal’s first trip outside the country and watching her start to take everything in was a lot of fun. She also lives in a world of high class resorts, so I was hoping she’d embrace our little apartment and she did. I think it is a great place! It’s so cute, has everything we need for a few days and is a good location. We were able to chill out here for about an hour before I made us get up and start walking to where we were meeting the food tour.
Food tour was a small group, led by an ex-pat American, that went to three different restaurants, trying a few things and a drink at each place. It was a great first night in town activity. Our tour guide was perfect, a guy about my age, living in Barcelona for the last 8 years. He gave us some Spanish history, explained the food, gave us tips for ordering on our own and didn’t seem to mind the super obnoxious lady on the tour. There were two couples on the tour in addition to Chrystal and me. One was lovely. The wife of the other couple was the worst. Ugh. A story for another day.

We tried a lot of things and only 1 is something I’d never order again. And a few were things I wouldn’t have ordered on my own, and am glad Jon did. Chrystal still maintains this event is her favorite activity so far.

I’d say mine is the church we saw the next morning. But I want to spend a little more time on that post, so for tonight, I must sleep. We’re day tripping out of the city tomorrow, meaning I HAVE to get up on time.


Ladies at Park Guell


My Cousin It hair on the top level of the bus.


Saw the Columbus monument! O-H..!

36 in Spain

I love to do birthday recaps, love to walk myself down memory lane, love to play my “what was I doing a year ago” game and try to focus on how much I’ve grown, learned, changed.

And as always, some things are amazingly different, and some things stay the same.  If you really want to read about the birthdays I’ve had in my 30’s (and I don’t really recommend you do – I was a tad whiny last year) you can do that here.  I struggled some last year, 35 was a little harder.  I was feeling very far from where I thought I’d be, should be, wanted to be.  I ended up having a great time at Studio 35 (for my 35th birthday! I love a theme!) with my favorite new Columbus friends and some rocking chocolate cake from The Angry Baker.

First birthday in Ohio cake!

First birthday in Ohio cake!

About this time last year I decided I would take a trip for my next birthday.  Not that I wasn’t so happy to spend it with my friends, but maybe putting myself in a new environment would distract me from playing the “shouldn’t you have accomplished more by this point” game.  If I could look forward to each birthday because it brought a great new experience and wonderful memories and stories.  And hopefully a great picture for my Christmas card!  (Never too early to start thinking about that…)

My mother, who thinks I never listen to a thing she says, told me a story about her visit to Madrid when she was 21 and on a whirlwind Europe tour.  She said that even the Post Office is so beautiful that they call it “Our Lady of the Post” like a church.  This story stayed with me and for that reason Madrid has always been on the top of my list of places to get to.  I mean, look at it…

This is the post office.

This is the post office.

So, to Spain I go.  My original plan was just rent an apartment for 8 days in Madrid and live like a local.  Wander around, see every street, taste every tapas and just be.  When Chrystal decided to come with me…

(Yes, I say when she decided to come with me.  Picture it, Chrystal and I having dinner in March when I was in Vegas for a conference…

Me: I think I’m going to go to Spain for my birthday.

Her: Oh yeah?  I think I’ll come too.

Me: Awesome.

Her: Can we do more than just Madrid?

Me: You’re right, seems silly to just see one city.  But I refuse to do a tour.

Her: Deal.)

…we made plans to stay 4 nights in each Barcelona and Madrid and do a day trip from each one as well.  We’ll see a little more, but not feel like I’m constantly on the move.  Perfect.

I’ve been so busy the last couple months with the new position at work, the semi-stressing out about Casual Dating Guy (CDG), all the summer festivals, a work trip, a weekend back in STL, etc… that just today it hit me that it’s so close!  Ahh!  This thing I’ve been looking forward to for almost a year is here!

Park Guell in Barcelona

Park Guell in Barcelona

I’m going to see the whimsical Park Guell in Barcelona.  I’m going to eat all the Iberico ham allowed.  I’m going to walk on some cobblestone that Pablo Picasso once walked on.

There is no concrete in the making of this aqueduct!

There is no concrete in the making of this aqueduct!

I’m going to the old city of Segovia where there’s a castle and this magical aqueduct.  It is mortar-less!  That’s amazing!  How is it doing that?  I’m going to find out.  I’m going to a cava production vineyard where I will almost assuredly drink too much of the good stuff and ship home a case of it.

And then I’ll get to Madrid, the city I’ve been waiting for.  I’m going to sip sangria while lingering around Plaza Sol and be just fine with what 36 has in store for me, whatever that may be.

The Spanish sleep in.  I plan to get up early and run around Retiro Park - gorgeous!

The Spanish sleep in. I plan to get up early and run around Retiro Park – gorgeous!

I just love birthdays.  Our own personal New Year.


Random things that spoke to me this week

I’ve started a few posts in the last couple days, none of them really having a theme or purpose or much content.  So, why not combine them all, categorize this post as random stuff I’m thinking about and get it off my mind, eh?

The reason I picked this up right now is because I just saw a tweet that led me to a Harvard Business Review article.  And if you know me at all, you know I love me some HBR.  The article is called, “In the Age of Loneliness, Connections at Work Matter.”  My company (and hundreds of others) take an annual engagement survey, and no question prompts ridicule like “I have a best friend at work.”  People love to taunt it.  If you read this article, it tells you why things like that matter.  I do have a best friend at work, my closest Columbus friends I met at work.  80% of the people I hang out with in Columbus are from work.  And they’re all such great people.  It really does make it a nicer place to go in the morning knowing I can count on getting an instant message from Chris or Shawn, knowing that I can stop by Shannon’s desk, knowing Jenn is now just two floors up (I recently moved floors), knowing Peter is always up for lunch… and I haven’t even mentioned the reason I have most of those friends is the best friend I have at work – Rex.  Three cheers for Rex.

The other thing the article mentions is that even though we’re all more connected than ever, we’re lonelier than ever too.

Because there’s a difference between being surrounded by or linked to other people and having moments of genuine human connection with them. As the writer Richard Bach observed, “The opposite of loneliness is not togetherness, it’s intimacy.”

I totes get this.  I’m not complaining about being lonely (right now, anyway). I’m just saying I get this.  I am my own best example of this today.  I’m fine being by myself, right?  I’m a competent lady, I got my stuff (mostly) together, whatevs.  But I find that whenever I do a big project (in the past it’s been a home DIY thing – like tiling the kitchen last summer) I’m the most active on Twitter.  I want to share things, I want feedback, I want to feel like I’m not doing it alone, I want support, I want someone to validate my work, etc.  Today, the thing I’m doing is just packing for Spain, but if you search for the hashtag #estoyempacando you’ll find my total and complete nonsense packing updates.  Yup.  True story.  We want to connect.

Which leads me to the other article I read this week that led me to start a blog post.  I didn’t finish that one because I don’t know that I loved the article, even though I thought it was kind of on point.  Mark Manson put out a new essay today.  His last one was only so-so, and this one is a step above, but still not where the writing was when I decided to become a follower of his.  (In my opinion, this is a good one, and this one, and, ah, this one are better.)

Romance is like religion in that it’s completely illogical, but that doesn’t stop people from giving their lives over to it.

Romance is like science in that you need to fuck up a few times before you know how to get it right. Failure is part of the process. Or rather, it’s the whole point. (Mark Manson)

He compared romance to alcohol for most of the essay.  I totes get this, too.  (Also, maybe for my 36th birthday I should stop saying “totes”.)  I feel as an FYI you should know I’m not drinking as I write this.  I do have an urge to watch When Harry Met Sally after reading it.  It’s been too long since I’ve re-watched that one.

(Editor’s Note: I just searched to see if that movie was on any streaming service I already have – seems silly to pay for it when I can watch the dvd – it’s on Amazon Prime! I am now watching while I type from my bedroom floor.  Ahh, the strains of It Had to Be You  begin.  Isn’t it hilarious to think of Billy Crystal as a romantic lead?  And yet, it works.)

I don’t really know what I want to say about this article, outside of validating the second part of the quote I posted above.  If failing at romance is the point, then I’m doing it right.  You would have thought I’d have tested the hypothesis on unavailable men changing their ways for me by now.  Luckily I have my foot to remind me to regroup these days…

"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful person.  I've failed much more than I've succeeded.  And each time I fail, I get my people together and ask 'Where are we going?'"  #quovadimus

“I’m what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful person. I’ve failed much more than I’ve succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together and ask ‘Where are we going?'” #quovadimus Sports Night

And lastly in my “things that spoke to me” post, is this song.  I’ve been jamming to it on repeat for most of last week.

26 hours in Ohio, pt 2

Back in March I did this post on the 26 hours I spent in Northeast Ohio, going to good restaurants, alumni events and a state park (where I so nearly fell in the icy stream below).

This past weekend I did 26 hours in Southwest(ish) Ohio.  I went to Cincinnati, OH to see my St. Louis Cardinals play the Cincy Reds.

(Editor’s Note: This blog post introduces Casual Dating Guy (CDG, for short).  Details about him shall remain limited until I figure out exactly what the deal with CDG is, but I couldn’t really figure out how to tell this story without you, my loyal 3 readers, knowing that there’s a guy in this story.  Here’s what you need to know about CDG: We’ve seen each other a bit since July, very clear “nothing serious” parameters were initially set, I think he’s pretty neat.) 

CDG and I talked about going to see a Cards/Reds game a while back.  I thought this seemed like a good idea.  I love baseball, miss my Redbirds, and the idea of a little overnight getaway with CDG didn’t seem like a bad idea either.  So, I did what I do, and I planned this.  Not knowing how serious CDG was about this actual plan, I broached the topic a couple weeks ago, he was still in, so away we went.

We listened to the OSU/Hawaii game on the just about 2 hour drive there.  I found myself a bit nervous, 24 hours with no escape from me is kind of a lot for a guy I’ve only been seeing kind of randomly the past 2 months.  I didn’t have any plans for Saturday night (the game was on Sunday afternoon).  The plan was simply to get there, have dinner and hang out with each other.  I, being me, had a secret plan of where we could go get dinner, knew where it was in relation to our hotel, and generally even knew what I would order, but that wasn’t revealed until CDG said he liked the idea of having direction to the evening.  Whew.  No problem there, CDG.  We checked into the hotel, tried to find the last of the OSU game on a tv station before we headed out to dinner, no luck, turned on the Tennessee game while we waited on the OSU final score.  (OSU won!)

In doing my research for my casual, unplanned night in Cincy, I learned that St. Louis favorite Pi Pizzeria opened a location in downtown Cincinnati!  AND, they had Schlafly beer on the menu!  It seemed too perfect for my St. Louis in Cincy weekend theme.  CDG was fine with this choice and away we went.  We walked just a few blocks to get there on a perfect weather weekend.  The restaurant was kind of busy and just as I was getting a little bummed at how it might be kind of loud and harder to talk to each other, we get this perfect table in the corner of the place, up against windows and even behind this kind of partition from the rest of the dining floor.  It’s like they knew I don’t see CDG often and actually enjoy talking to him.

And talk we did.  We chatted all through dinner, nerves disappearing with every new conversation topic.  He proved to be as clever and interesting and delightful as I recalled.  (Sometimes I think I overestimate those things in the interim – but darn it if that isn’t actually who he is.)  We ate pizza, made friends with the waiter (as I do), I drank local STL beer, and had a nice time.  Walked back to the hotel to find the end of the Tennessee game that had started before we left and I learned how OT in College football is played.

By this time, I’m back to normal (I mean, normal for me) and just enjoying spending this much time with CDG. He has this one habit that always confuses my “this-is-a-casual-just-have-fun-relationship” mindset, but by morning, I was back in control of any and all pesky “feelings”.  With Yelp as my spirit guide, I found us a cute little place to grab a late breakfast.  We then walked on down to the Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds.


I really do love watching MLB games.  I understand baseball.  I always know where the ball is.  I know the rules.  It’s enjoyable for me to watch a game.  I like attending pro sporting events in general, but especially baseball, and especially my St. Louis Cardinals.  I was sporting a new STL Cards shirt (I needed one in light blue so I didn’t blend in with the red Reds fans) and even brought along a Cards hat for CDG to wear, which he did eventually, although that was way more about how sunny it was than actually wanting to support my birds.  My Cardinals had been in quite a slump the last couple weeks, even losing pretty badly to the Cubs – which is basically a tragedy.  The game I was at was the last in a series of 4 against the Reds, and we had lost the previous 3 games.  I brought all the Cards mojo I had been bottling up by not seeing them all season, and it worked.  I totally turned their streak around and they won the game 9-2.  CDG took my happy dances at each run in stride.  We stayed for the entire game, which made me really happy.  I knew we both had things to do back in Columbus, and I told him we could leave any time after the 7th inning, but he was sure that if we stayed we might see a comeback.  No such luck for him, but an extra hour of time with CDG for me, so a win-win for me.


When we get back to the car I grab a book out of my bag and then climb in the front seat.  CDG was driving and since I live in a world where I fear I’ll run out of things to talk about with people, I brought along Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs.  The author is about my age, and the whole book is essays about his view on the world.  Some of it is really funny, but there is one chapter that is just a list of really outlandish questions.  Not your typical, “What person living or dead do you invite to dinner.”  But more:

For reasons that cannot be explained, cats can suddenly read at a twelfth-grade level. They cant talk and they cant write, but they can read silently and comprehend the text. Many cats love this new skill, because they now have something to do all day while they lay around the house; however, a few cats become depressed, because reading forces them to realize the limitations of their existence (not to mention utter frustration of being unable to express themselves). This being the case, do you this the average cat would enjoy Garfield, or would cats find the cartoon to be an insulting caricature?  (from Chuck Klosterman’s Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs)

Chuck titles this chapter: The 23 Questions I Ask Everybody I Meet in Order to Decide if I Can Really Love Them.  I’ve used this chapter as a party game more than once, it always leads to really funny conversations, and you usually learn a great number of quirky things about the people you’re talking to. The car ride home was no exception.

Even more than seeing the Cards win, the car ride home might be my favorite part of the 26 hours.  CDG is fun and smart and logical in a way that isn’t condescending.  Throughout our discussions around these silly questions, I found myself questioning my firmly held beliefs on both magicians and surprise parties.  This kid continues to catch me off guard with his really annoying characteristic of being great.  I don’t always see it coming, I think because I’m trying not to think about it (see casual, just for fun relationship above).  It takes a lot for me to reconsider one of my core beliefs (i.e. I hate magicians and surprise parties) and somehow he got all inside my head and made completely rational arguments for both of those things being okay.  I still don’t understand how it happened, but I think Chuck Klosterman could really go for this guy.

The drive was over too quickly and soon I was back at my house.

Morals of the story:

  1. I totally helped the Cardinals win that game.
  2. Always have a secret back up plan for what to do for dinner.
  3. Will have to do something soon about this CDG situation, before I start to like like him.  I don’t know exactly what yet, it’s a mystery.

The only Labor in my Day was driving a billion hours

Going back to STL for a very quick visit always leaves me a little tired.  Tired of driving, tired from such concentrated family time, tired because I sleep on my sister’s couch when I’m there and like to wake up when baby goddaughter wakes up

She's so cute!  How could I not want to wake up with her?!

She’s so cute! How could I not want to wake up with her?!

… and a little tired emotionally.

I had dinner with Claire last night at our usual spot, the Ethiopian restaurant on South Grand.  I really love living in Columbus and am so happy here.  But my heart still feels at home in that Tower Grove neighborhood.  I felt a civic connection in that neighborhood that I don’t feel where I live currently.  I was spoiled there, it was too easy to be so connected.  It was such a walkable neighborhood with a strong community.

I miss my meditation spot.

I miss my meditation spot.

I miss my twirling gazebo. During every run through the park I would run through this gazebo and do a little twirl in the middle.

I miss my twirling gazebo. During every run through the park I would run through this gazebo and do a little twirl in the middle.

I always leave with slightly mixed emotions, but now that I’m back in my house and have heard from my local friends as we root for the Buckeyes at their first game, and plan for the week ahead at work (a short week!), I start to feel back to normal.

Only one week into September (birthday month!) and already I feel like it’s almost over!  There is so much happening, culminating in Spain at the end of the month!  I have a work dinner this Wednesday night, an all day big work thing Thursday, Rex and I are going to the North Market Beer Festival Friday night for the 2nd year in a row, and then Saturday night I’m heading to Cincy to root for the Cardinals during the Sunday game.  And after the last two games, my Cards could use some cheering on!  (Seriously, 9 – 0 loss to the Cubs?  What?!)  There’s not a lot more to prep for Spain in the planning sense, but I want to make sure I’m more prepared by reviewing subway maps, reading Rick Steve’s tips for general Spain travel, printing out the documents I need, and get Chrystal (my travel buddy) a last minute update so she feels comfortable too.  Woo!

Just a moment to publicly express my total gratitude to my Claire.  I’m grateful she always finds time for me when I’m home for a weekend.  I’m grateful that Sunday night she let me do 90% of the talking.  I’m grateful that even when she knows I don’t want to hear what she says, she says it anyway.  I’m slightly less grateful that her words and advice marinated on the drive home all day, which I’m sure I’m means that I’ll be calling her at some point saying, “You were right…. as per usual.”  I love my local peeps, but Claire is basically my spirit animal.  Thanks for liking me, exactly as I am, Claire!


I was going to start with the crabby portion of the day.  The world has enough crabby.  Let me abbreviate that part for you.  I was cranky.

I don’t like to be home to my empty house when I’m cranky, sometimes that exacerbates the grumpy.  Luckily, a friend called to see if I wanted to have an impromptu dinner.  I did.  Then I thought I’d see a late movie (still need to see The End of the Tour!).  Late movie didn’t start until 9:50, so had time to go home, do some dishes, some laundry.

And be cranky.

Got a text from a friend in STL who is looking forward to seeing me this weekend – that was nice.  That helped.  Had a brief conversation with an unexpected acquaintance – that was nice.  It helped.  (It helped a little.  I have a bit of an impossible crush on unexpected acquaintance and when have you known impossible crushes to end well?  But that’s a whole other thing.)

Then it was 10pm and I was still at my house and just sitting on my bed.  No noise. No iPad.  Less cranky than I had been a couple hours ago.

And that’s when I heard the opera music.

Seriously.  At first I thought it was just the sounds of my house that made me think it was opera, the whirling of my fan and chirping bugs outside the window somehow swirling into an opera melody.  No.  This was music.  Had I left something on downstairs?  I stood at the top of the steps.  I didn’t hear anything.  I look out the window overlooking the backyard.  I didn’t hear anything.  I decide to check outside, on the off chance that someone is Say Anything-ing me or my neighbors (a girl can dream, right?).  I step out on my front porch and I hear it clear as day.  Opera music. It’s coming from across the street.  I sit down on the porch steps and listen.  I don’t think it’s a recording, I think it’s someone practicing with the windows open.  And then she starts singing Ave Maria.

My gruff, blue collar, construction worker dad loved the song Ave Maria.  Wanted me to learn how to play piano just to play that song.

I sat there and listened to Ave Maria.  I started to cry.  Not sobbing crying, but there were tears.

The universe continues to present things to us until we get it, right?  It seems each time I stop distracting myself with noise (actual, literal noise) I’m rewarded in some way.  Tonight I was rewarded with unexpected acquaintance remembering this silly story I told him and unexpected opera coming from across the street.  And then I wasn’t cranky anymore.