Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Ms. CRANKY'S HAT, well, one of them

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Ms. Cranky will, once again, make her annual plea for not having Christmas parties at Christmas time although, so far, no one has much listened to her which makes her pretty, umm, ‘cranky.’

Ms. Cranky thinks that there are just too many parties bunched up at once and she can’t possibly go to three parties a night though she steadfastly tries.  Ms. Cranky’s philosophy and some of her family too is ‘never miss a party.’ So, she tries valiantly, clambering around town and up and down tiers of steps.  But with all these parties jammed together, she can’t possibly steal (er, ‘borrow’) Christmas cookies fast enough.

Now, Ms. Cranky wants to be clear about her Christmas cookie ‘thing.’  She doesn’t actually steal them.  She just helps herself to a few extra cookies on her way out the door and she carries her own ‘baggies’ to put them in.  But, Ms. Cranky, raised in a religious environment, also has stringent rules for her borrowing of cookies:

Like, she doesn’t steal from non-profit organizations or from someone’s home. She mostly uses her baggies and aluminum foil and coat pockets (though that can get pretty crumby, so to speak) to steal cookies from major corporations.  They can afford it.  But, if it’s a private home or a non-profit organization, she might ask the host or hostess if she could take a few cookies ‘for the road (er, subway).’  In truth, Ms. Cranky doesn’t eat a lot of sweets but she truly cherishes Christmas cookies and was once quite a baker herself. She still has little cookie cutters around to show for it but how can one bake in a Brooklyn kitchen???

But, mostly, Ms. Cranky wants Christmas parties held after the Christmas holiday season because she does not do too well during those long cold gloomy months of January, February and March.  So, if people held Christmas parties during those months, when they weren’t so busy and when Cranky and probably three-quarters of the human race really needed a good party, it would all work very well. 

But, Cranky has been gnawing on this old bone for years and, so far, not many people have budged; one couple she adores a few years ago gave a wonderful and relaxed party in mid-January and Cranky was all cranked up to go to that one and had a wonderful time.

But, actually, Christmas is the time of year you’re supposed to be sweating in overheated department stores, being sneezed on and pushed around by your fellow citizens in order to buy gifts that nobody really needs, you can’t afford and that will probably only be taken back anyway.

And, then you also have to use that Christmas party time to stand in long Post Office lines, waiting for those little yellow lights to blink or beep and then when they blink or beep, everybody starts hollering at you --- “over there --- no, go thaaat way --- go to window #12, no, go to # 6”, turn right, no, no turn leffft!” --- and, you’re so terrified you become like a deer in the headlights of the front of the Post Office Line --- wide-eyed and frozen in fear. 

Besides, you can’t go to Christmas parties at Christmas time, because at the Post Office you are once a year treated to dry packing tape that is accompanied by a weird little faded red moist (Ms. C. hates to think) sponge in a funny round glass bowl.  Every time, Cranky sees that bowl with that old sponge, she thinks of her mother and her aunts sending “care packages” overseas during World War II and thinks they probably used the same bowl.

So, a quick recap --- there are the gifts nobody needs and you can’t afford, the sneezing fellow citizens, the Post Office with its many scary scenes but, mostly, Ms. Cranky needs Christmas parties or anything even resembling any kind of party in January, February and March --- those icky months with nothing but flu and boots that leak. 

Ms. Cranky believes that many of you out there feel the same about Christmas parties in early winter and that we should form a movement --- but in this movement, we will not tent!  That’s  for sure.

Thanks for stopping by.  Ms. C. wishes you and yours the joys of the season, the real joys, and hopes you see lots of beautifully colored lights and breathe in good pine (and baking-cookie) scents.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011


Ms. Cranky was whining and complaining to anyone who’d listen that she was tired and had had a cold for months and didn’t want to be out working in the garden in the cold.  But, Cranky was part of a community garden and each year in December they had a tree-lighting ceremony and invited people to come.  So, the gardeners had to prepare the space, put up lights, hang decorations and set out food and drink.  But, it was cold out so Ms. Cranky was in a bad mood and grumbled walking over to the garden.  She was even crankier as she felt heavy in her many layers of clothes.
All went well; she helped hang decorations on the tree with interesting people who talked the history of the holiday and that was nice but she sure wasn’t going to stay long, --- no way.  Around 4:30 when most everything was done, the guests were not invited until 5, Ms. Cranky and her friend Susan went and got warm inside a friend’s café across the street; it was closed but he let them sit while he cleaned up for the day.
And, when they came out around quarter to five, they looked across the street in awe --- dusk had fallen and the lights were looking magical, there were so many more this year; they had been put on several of the smaller bushes and trees.   The Christmas tree itself was yet dark.  It was delightful to see how nice everything looked and Ms. Cranky began ‘perking up.’  But, remember she was still going to leave and go home early, she’d been sick, it was night, it was December, it was cold, the whole routine.
Then, around five all these people arrived, like out of nowhere and all at once.  The gardeners hadn’t expected much of a crowd, just the usual neighbors, but this was a big gathering with many people they’d never seen before and everywhere Ms. Cranky looked there were mothers and fathers holding up small children to admire the lights.  It seemed like everyone was holding up a delighted child and pointing.
Ms. Cranky didn’t cry but she might have for it was such a beautiful scene.  Then, the tree itself was lit and there was even more light. 
A woman arrived with a sound asleep four-month old boy in her arms.  She hoped he’d awake as lights were the one thing he saw clearly at his age.  And, in time the baby stirred and these small shiny dark eyes looked everywhere, taking it all in, like he was eating the light, tasting it.  His eyes made Cranky so happy, she forgot she had been sick and grouchy and whining and complaining not long before.  And, she quickly started bouncing around welcoming people, thanking them for coming.  She helped pour cocoa and made sure people knew where the popcorn was.  She assisted children in putting tinsel on the tree.
And, Ms. Cranky forgot about going home early and forgot the cold and it was a most miraculous evening, there on a street corner people passed every day, next to a bustling shopping area we take for granted --- being taught by little ones --- seeing the beauty of the lights through their eyes, learning anew about astonishment and what wonder was all about.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ms. CRANKY On --- Do People Actually Buy Clacky Shoes On Purpose?

Sometimes when Ms. Cranky is walking down the street, it sounds like half the Bolshevik army is walking behind her and it often it feels they’re going to walk right up her back.  The noise is intense and the clacky shoes people tend to be ‘close walkers.’
Ms. Cranky tries to be understanding as she pulls aside and lets the pounding pass ahead of her.  She thinks that maybe these women, usually women in these cases, tried the shoes on in a store where there were rugs and they didn’t know how horrible they’d sound out on the street.  That’s what Cranky wants to think when she’s being kind, that the person doesn’t really want to announce their every foot step to the world.
But, sadly, she thinks she’s wrong to give the benefit of the doubt.  She thinks that maybe these people actually want to clack themselves loudly through life but Cranky still wonders --- why?

Ms. Cranky thanks you, as always, for stopping by and hopes you have a lovely sunny day.  It’s sunny where Ms. Cranky lives among the clackers.  And, she’d love to hear your opinion on the subject of very loud shoes and wonders if you have any ideas on why they would be a choice?  She knows in summer we have the various flip flop noises which can be slightly annoying and many men wear the kind that shuffle along but flip flops have mostly been put away for the winter but the big guns, the loud clackers, seem to be growing in numbers.
It’s a scary thought.

Ms. Cranky, Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ms. CRANKY ON ‘TENTING;’ COOKING SHOWS PART II --- on overused, though often helpful, terms

In time for THANKSGIVING DAY --- talk of cooking, basters and such
Ms. Cranky always thought tents were things you went into the woods with and set up while swearing up a storm. Then, you slept in them, praying it wouldn’t rain and the water wouldn’t come flooding under your sleeping bag.  Ms. Cranky considers herself an outdoors person, even an Adirondack woods woman at times but she stops at camping.  It holds no romance for her and it holds lots of things she’d rather not know about.
But, ‘tents’ are now another hot item term being somewhat overused on her favorite cooking shows.  But, Cranky admits that tents are helpful and wonders what she ever did without them.
Cranky thinks that she may have used ‘basters’ in place of tents, at least she assumes them similar in theory.  You know you always had a baster especially at Thanksgiving time and you’d use it to pull up the liquid around the turkey, then squirt it back on the top and sides.  Cranky thinks this was done to keep the poor turkey from drying out and also to make it a wonderful inviting-looking golden color.  Cranky’s father was the major cook in their house and every time he basted the turkey (which seemed to be every two minutes), we all had to get up and go into the kitchen and make appropriate ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ noises to show our appreciation.   Cranky’s dad was a great showman when it came to food and she misses him even more around this time of year.
Cranky had a baster for years, it was real old and might have been handed down to her from her grandmother for all she remembers but as she became more aware of the dangers of plastic and plastic mixed with heat, Cranky wasn’t crazy about the baster anymore.  She really wanted one of those glass basters but they were more expensive and Cranky is always on some budget or other.
But, forget all that --- the use of glass as opposed to a plastic baster because Katie the kitty came to live with Ms. Cranky four Christmases ago.  And, Ms. C. has found that the older you get and the more you live with pets, the more protective you become or that’s how it’s been for her.  Cranky’s seen too many instances of the fragility of life and has gotten more nervous over the years, but not obsessive (ehh --- well, hmm?!).
The second Christmas that Cranky had Katie the kitty (the first one the terrified animal hid the whole season so they never even got a tree), she bought a beautiful tree from Vermont, put it up, well, Cranky finds her trees almost always ‘list’ a little and she ends up balancing the lovely fir against a nearby wall.  Cranky dutifully filled the Christmas tree stand with good clean water and a bit of sugar as recommended.  But, then, Ms. Cranky remembered reading somewhere that pine was poisonous for cats though she had had three other cats that had lived with Christmas trees for years and with the aforesaid water at the bottom of the tree.
But, being older and wiser now, Ms. Cranky decided, all these years of cats and trees later that she couldn’t risk Katie getting into the pine water for a little sip.
So, Cranky devised a masterful, she thought, scheme to protect her still pretty new companion from toxins.  She pulled out her very old turkey baster and every time she left the apartment, which was a lot, she’d siphon the water up and out from the Christmas tree stand so Katie couldn’t drink from it while Cranky was out.  Of course, this meant that, after the holidays, the turkey baster was pretty sticky with tree resin and impossible to clean so it had to be thrown out.  And, cheap as Cranky can be, err, ‘frugal,’ she never bought a new baster as she thought the plastic models not healthy and the glass too expensive. So, now Cranky just spoons liquid over things cooking in the oven and with new information garnered from cooking shows, she is also ‘TENTING.’
Cranky thinks the tent theory a good one.  You put liquid on with a spoon but, then, when you tent the dish, i. e. put a foil wrap over it and close it on the sides, the liquid (this is C.’s theory, she hopes she’s right), goes up to the top and then the moisture descends on the dish so that it’s almost like a baster.  Ms. Cranky hopes not to be criticized by the cooking fanatics of which there are many but that’s how she sees it.  And, mostly, no more plastic coupled with heat which is good. 
And, as for the Christmas tree water --- the last few year’s Cranky’s covered the stand with its own little tent of foil and, so far, Katie the beautiful and funny cat, has not thought to dig below it.  Katie is well taken care of in the food and drink department and has plenty of real cold filtered water in her own bowl.
So those are Cranky’s theories on tenting, basting and not poisoning your pets.  And, maybe some time, on the subject of cooking etc., Cranky may talk about funnels for she truly loves funnels but fears she lost a long-term friend over talking about funnels, perhaps a little too enthusiastically --- well, let’s just say that Cranky never saw this guy again, so, she’s a bit reluctant to get into the funnel subject.  But, she also knows she’ll probably not be able to control herself forever.  She may even get a new funnel or even two for Christmas.

Thanks for stopping by. The very best to everybody from our house.  Thanksgiving is a neat holiday, Cranky thinks, it’s calmer than some.  She hopes you have a whole wonderful Thanksgiving week and that people are smiling and kind to you everywhere you go.  She hopes that ‘help’ in shops is helpful and that people don’t walk into your chest while reading their mechanical devices --- that would be something to be grateful for!
Cranky hopes you cook joyfully with or without a baster, a tent, whatever and that you might begin imagining the smell of pine that will soon fill our streets and our homes, if we are so lucky.

Monday, November 21, 2011
Thanksgiving week

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ms. CRANKY --- on why don’t people take out their wallets before their purchases are added up or do they think it’s ‘on the house?’

Once again, Ms. Cranky stood in a long line of  people, waiting with all their things to check out and duly noted that the guy in front of her, a big guy, with a seemingly big attitude, stood and waited while all was checked out, didn’t help the cashier with the bags --- those guys never do, and, only at the very end of the transaction, did he seem to remember that he had to pay and, then, he took an inordinate amount of time looking for his wallet --- was in this pocket or that? Was it in his briefcase --- or, maybe behind his ear? He looked everywhere while the cashier stood mute with her eyes down and slowly, very slowly, the guy peeled out money, one bill at a time --- they love doing that.
And, Ms. Cranky just stood there watching with her charge card all ready ahead of time and her little key chain if they needed the store card thingamabob.  She was READY TO GO, READY TO MOVE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE so as not to bother her fellow shoppers or hold anyone up behind her, once again wondered --- did this guy think they were giving the groceries away, was there a sign that said “Customer Appreciation Day --- come on in, everything’s free today?”
Ms. Cranky was, once again, baffled.  Why would a grown man, probably one with a good job    (at least his groceries looked like he probably didn’t have to worry about cost), not think to pull out his form of payment before he got up to the cash register, then stand around watching the cashier tally it up, then watch as she bagged for him.
With buses, it’s pretty much the same.  We all stand waiting for the bus in the rain complaining amongst ourselves that it’s late, then the bus finally comes, we’ve been there maybe 20 minutes and I put my umbrella down assuming I’m getting on the bus right away and that’s when the woman in front of me gets on and then and ONLY THEN decides to look for her Metrocard and I’m left out on the street with the rain pouring on me, aghast and wondering --- didn’t she  have the past 20 minutes to get her Metrocard out before boarding the bus?  Is she surprised she has to pay?  Is this her first time on public transportation?
Sorry, if Cranky seems grouchier than usual today but did no one ever educate these people that there are others of us in the world and that they should be like thoughtful, dare I even use the word considerate?  Cranky’s probably still upset about the huge group of us trying to come up the subway stairs on another pouring rain day and the young woman who had draped herself over half of the steps so the many of us trying to exit had to go up single file.  She was there, of course, because she got good phone reception and the rest of us be damned --- forget it if they’re late to work --- let them eat cake!
Hey, people in line for a cashier, remember you have to PAY when you get up there, maybe you could prepare for that shocking situation ahead of time because we’re all stuck behind you and, maybe, you could stop talking on your cell phone at the ATM machine and push the buttons you need, so you can FINISH your transaction and those behind you in line can then have access to the machine.
That’s all for today.   Ms. Cranky is upset all over again just writing this.  But, thanks for stopping by.  The sun’s out in out area and some say it may be out a few more days.  Maybe the sun will help everybody snap into place for a bit.  Cranky prays today and the days ahead go well and mostly kindly and thoughtfully for you.

Ms. CRANKY, November 8, 2011
Just another person in line with groceries, a rider of buses and subways, a user of ATM machines, a fellow stander-in-line.

Friday, October 14, 2011

a Ms. CRANKY short but not sweet

Please, tell Ms. CRANKY what she wants to hear.  Please tell her that it isn't true, that she's imagining it, that maybe she dreamed it. 

Please, please tell Ms. CRANKY that there is not an ad on national mainstream TV advertising deodorant with a man jumping under his wife's or girlfriend's arms as she dances.   Please tell me I'm wrong.  


Friday, October 14, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011


Ms. Cranky loves cooking shows but she waits for house-sitting jobs to see her favorites as she doesn’t have cable on her TV.  If she did, she’d be watching Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Channel every day; Cranky loves Ina but hasn’t seen her show in over a year.  But, Ms. Cranky does get to see Lidia’s Italy and her favorite people from America’s Test Kitchen as they’re on regular PBS TV that everybody gets. Oh, and Simply Ming, umm, Ming.  
But, Cranky finds that some words on food shows are very overused at times.  Once she actually counted to see how many times a certain word was repeated on a PBS show and the same word was used eleven times --- in just 30 minutes.
Some of the words Ms. Cranky finds overused although very explainable in their use are --- “sweating the onions”. At first, when Ms. Cranky heard ‘sweating the onions’, she thought it a good and valid description but at this point, the overused term is getting a little sweat-inducing.  “Melding” is a beautiful word, meld too and Ms. Cranky loves her words but sometimes she feels like melded to death after a cooking show.  Okay, Cranky admits it’s a nice thought to imagine all these little chopped up (or, ‘diced', more likely) vegetables getting all cozy with each other and having their tastes flop together, it’s a lovely image but after hearing the word meld over and over on the same ½ hour show, you can get downright de-sensitized.
But, the winner and still champ for an over-used word on a cooking show is “caramelized”.  Again, a lovely word, a wonderful, true word that you can visualize so well but eleven times in one short show is a bit overwhelming, especially on a Sunday which is supposed to be a day of rest!  Ms. Cranky loves and applauds the word ‘caramelize’ as she loves and applauds caramels themselves (umm).  But, enough already --- get a Thesaurus, now there’s a word, try something new.
Ouii, Ms. Cranky has to go now.  She has to wash her vegetables to prepare them for dinner.  And, dry out her most gorgeous hot peppers, 10 for $1 at the Farmer’s Market --- so pretty, so vibrantly red.   Cranky isn’t planning to sweat or meld or caramelize anything tonight, well, maybe just a teeny little melding when the glorious cabbage leaves meet the onions and are sprinkled with bright carrot shreds --- just a onetime use of the word --- but, shhh, don’t tell anybody!

Ms. Cranky hopes you have a great day and cook away.  She’ll be thinking of you but, remember, to watch your language.  You’re not only what you eat, you’re what you say about it.

Thanks for stopping by, sorry the weather’s still so cold and gloomy.  Bundle up.
Ms. Cranky, signing off now ---
Monday, October (already) 3, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ms. CRANKY ON TOO MUCH USE OF THE SAME TERMS ON TV (or, anywhere else, for that matter)

Ms. Cranky has trouble with people repeating things, like she didn’t hear them the first ten times.  Ms. Cranky fears she attracts this type of repeating person but Ms. Cranky also has problems with TV people who get ‘hooked’ on a certain word or phrase and use it over and over.  Like, there was a time when Ms. Cranky enjoyed the word ‘venue’ and thought it downright spiffy but, then, over and over the TV newscasters and interviewers and such began using this really nice word to the point of nausea. 
Now, Ms. Cranky, who is a tiny snob, won’t use that word (‘venue’) even when it’s the most appropriate word to use which it sometimes is.  Ms. Cranky, as some of you know, performs at certain, ahhh, ‘places’ (theaters, clubs, dive bars, etc.) herself and has been tempted to use the “V” word but will not --- her lips are sealed.  It takes a lot to get Ms. Cranky really turned off on something but once she’s turned off, that’s it --- goodbye ‘venue,’ sorry it’s not your fault, I really liked you but you but you got manhandled.
The word of the moment on TV that’s really annoying Ms. Cranky and is being bandied about wildly, is ‘backstory’ which, again, is a perfectly fine word to describe the, like, back story of someone’s life and when Ms. Cranky first heard the word used she thought it very clear and telling but now she just about gags when she hears it, particularly on some early evening entertainment TV shows (you know who you are!).  About every third word, or, so it seems, is ‘backstory.’  Come on guys, get another word, it’s a big country out there and you’re TV stars and you have staffs and there are dictionaries and thesauruses (? Is the latter able to be pluralized?) 
Cooking shows are the worst for repetitiveness of words; Ms. Cranky once counted the same word used 11 times in one 30-minute segment.   But, that’s for tomorrow’s column, let’s not mix metaphors or overused words here.  Ms. C. doesn’t want to appear tooooo whiny, you know.  She’ll tackle (now, there’s a wonderful word, actually --- so vivid, so lusty-sounding) cooking show word abuse tomorrow, the good Lord willing and all.
Until then, Cranky thanks you for stopping by.  Have a great evening, morning and such.  The weather should improve and the annual Atlantic Antics Street Festival is in Brooklyn this Sunday which is a brilliant highlight of life here in this wonderful city.  Don’t miss it, if at all possible. It will not disappoint. The Antics might be crowded here and there but everyone’s in a good mood and the crowds eventually flow and the ATLANTIC ANTICS will not, cannot, disappoint. (Unless, you’re a total malcontent but, then, you probably wouldn’t be reading this column if you were!)

Ms. Cranky
Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Ms. CRANKY short ---

 Brooklyn Book Fair behavior, almost perfect, but for a few jerks
It’s hard to get upset at the wonderful Brooklyn Book Fair, now in its sixth year, especially because last year’s Fair had a severe rain storm right in the middle which was sad as so many events and booths are outside and they had to close up but this year the weather, though cool, ‘held’ as they say and it was a great day.
But, even there at the hallowed Brooklyn Book Festival, even hearing the wonderful writer Jhumpa Lahiri who received the “BoBi award”, speak at St. Ann’s and The Holy Trinity Church, a magnificent building; Cranky was shocked to see people misbehave.  Well, everyone wanted to see the writer as she spoke, of course, but some people took their desires so seriously they wiped the rest of us out.
We’d all be sitting in a row in a pew, leaning forward to see and hear and, someone, often a fully grown adult someone, would decide to stand up so that they could see better but, then the rest of us, would have to look at them, not the famous writer speaking (the woman in the bright red jacket, you know who you are!).
Cranky found this behavior flabbergasting and in such a supposedly sophisticated crowd,  that because you wanted to see, you’d stand in front of lots of other people who also wanted to see and block their view, but, it happened and not just a few times. 
But, Cranky was sustained not only by the caliber of the reading and interview but by the beautifully-colored stained glass windows of the stately Church and at one point, the sun must have come out from behind a cloud, because the light through the windows got suddenly extremely bright and it was a very moving moment.  So, Ms. Cranky will try to focus not on the thoughtlessness of grown adults standing in front of those of us sitting and blocking our view but on the sun streaming through the many-colored windows --- a virtual apparition.

Thanks for stopping by.  Don’t forget to attend the next great Brooklyn event, the Atlantic Antics Festival on Sunday, October 2.  It’s always a total delight.

Ms. Cranky
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


When Ms. Cranky first moved to New York, she was thrown out of her three-month sublet like two and a half months early.   But, Cranky was still nice then, having just moved from Philadelphia, or naïve, something like that and left the apartment (she had a written contract, the whole thing!).  Now, Ms. Cranky would just change the locks and say “See you in three months when the contract is finished!”  Her dear friend put her up in her high rise building for several months which was wonderful; there were cute doormen and everything.  Ms. Cranky would often come home from work and see huge bouquets that had arrived for residents and bury her face in them.  She couldn’t get enough of the beauty of them and the smell.  One time, the doorman told Cranky --- “You know sometimes they don’t even come down to pick the bouquets up.”  And Ms. Cranky was astounded, --- say ‘no' to a bouquet --- how could you?  She’d be happy with one lousy bloom.
Ms. Cranky grows flowers all year long on her windowsill and in her kitchen.  In the summer many plants go out to the fire escape (don’t worry, firemen, they’re in a corner, not blocking anybody!).  Ms. Cranky also gardens in a local community garden and just about falls over when she gets near her roses and bright purple morning glories.  On her recent vacation, she bought new seeds (17cents, how could you not?)  and is planting them later today, hoping they will have time to grow before the frosts come.
Cranky admits to liking flowers with a scent best.  Her orchids, a wonderful gift from the guy on the first floor, don’t have a scent and she loves them but wishes they did smell; they look like they should.
Cranky once told her old boyfriend that she didn’t like hydrangeas because they didn’t smell and her old boyfriend (notice the use of the word ‘old’) looked like he was going to cry.  She never did that again.  She’s since learned to appreciate the buoyant bushy flower and has heard how you make them bluer etc. by adding certain elements to the soil from hydrangea aficionados.
But, even if one didn’t like hydrangeas or daffodils or anything, a gift is a gift, a fan is a fan, and gratefulness is a wondrous virtue.   Hey, poor dear man who tried to give a thoughtful gift to Madonna --- anytime you want to drop flowers off to Ms. Cranky, she’d be delighted, any kind except those ones that look like red and purple brains, they’re the only flowers Ms. Cranky actually doesn’t like, but if you, by mistake gave them to her, she would never let you know.  She’d just ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ and be so grateful for your thoughtfulness and make you glad you went out of your way to be kind and giving.   Maybe Lourdes is being trained better --- let’s hope!
Thanks for stopping by everybody --- remember to ‘stop and smell the roses’; sorry, couldn’t resist.

Ms. Cranky, September 13, 2011

P.S. Ms. Cranky, all these years after being put out of her sublet, still cannot walk down that particular street in Brooklyn where it occurred.  It was and is a beautiful street and it’s near where Cranky lives now but it was so traumatic an event.  It had been such a huge move for Cranky to leave her small home and friends of over 20 years and she was so excited about being here and then it all turned hurtful so quickly.  Ouii.  People need to act better, don’t you think?  They really need to SHAAAPPPE UP.  But, nobody reading this.  Thanks again for stopping by.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ms. CRANKY --- a short announcement, a must-see 9/11 play, SWEET AND SAD at the Public Theater through September 25

Ms. Cranky saw a wonderful play tonight, September 11, 2011 and wants to let everyone know.  She doesn’t think she can describe it --- you just have to go!  And, it’s reasonably priced (you all know how cheap Ms. Cranky is, well, frugal is a nicer word to use!).
There is this family getting together, making food, setting tables, deciding that the tablecloth is stained and they need a different one.  It’s set today and they talk of 9/11/01, other parts of their lives and what they saw on TV that morning --- the reading of the names, the beautiful new Memorial and what they did in their churches to commemorate.
The play’s so vivid you can touch it.  You feel you know the people immediately and are part of them.  Cranky hadn’t eaten much all day and the food on the tables made her miserably hungry.  But, when she tried to quietly open a protein bar when the set went dark, a guy near her turned and glared so hard that she put it away --- so much for his 10th anniversary spirit!
The family in the play gets a lot of serious 9/11 stuff across but in a family setting with all the incongruities that provides --- sibling rivalry, snide remarks about things unattended to, asides about sibling’s spouses, and, mostly  total changes of subject in mid-sentence --- we all know it and  that’s why the audience laughed so heartily.
The beauty of the play besides the serious and loving messages it imparts is that it portrays ‘how we are.’   We’re talking along thinking we have something really profound to say and that everyone’s mesmerized and, then, we’re totally interrupted by ‘pass the gravy and you really need to change your shirt!’
Richard Nelson, the playwright is Ms. Cranky’s new hero.  Sweet and Sad is at the Public Theater all week.  Wow, what a ride.  When they said it was an hour and 55 minutes uninterrupted, Cranky started to panic.  But, it seemed like half an hour --- the actors talked like real people talk; they jumped up from the table and moved around, waved their arms, opened another bottle of wine and told their stories --- in a roundabout way --- but, that’s how family stories usually go.

Ms. Cranky
11:30 p.m.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Ms. Cranky apologizes for being out of touch for a while.  She was on vacation in the south of our country where her family and some good friends have landed.   She will be posting on this blog more actively soon.
On vacation, there’s not much to be cranky about.  You sleep late, swim a lot which Ms. Cranky loves to do and she got to see her wonderful three grandnephews often, their two gorgeous new puppies, their sweet older dog and ‘Famous,’ the rabbit and then with her friends in another area, three more lovely children, one of whom tried out his brilliant magic tricks on her.  She can still see Andrew’s beautiful and innocent-looking eyes as he asks --- “Are you sure your  card’s red?” and, though Ms. Cranky wanted to outsmart his tricks, she would always end up saying the wrong thing and he’d work his magic on her.  That boy is just so convincing.
With her family, there were myriad football practices and actual games as well as lacrosse practice, so Ms. Cranky spent a lot of time in beautiful suburban parks, amazing parks and, though she’s not a great sports fan, she loved the “Americana” of it --- the families out with their kids, lugging equipment, the coaches so serious and eager, her oldest nephew gave a heart-rending speech one day after their team lost. He’s a volunteer coach. Her other nephew is a teacher and coach in a school.  She’s very proud of both of them. 
All these sports events are a lot of work and discipline, a lot of washing of uniforms and finding cleats.  And, then the kids get home to homework fairly late.  But, the family thing and being outdoors, the color of the sky, the sweet smell of the grass --- it was a wonderful tableau. Ms. Cranky who has never been much of a sports fan came back feeling that there are lots worse things a person could do with their time.
But, you can get pretty cranky about the traffic in those gorgeous southern areas!  You could sit in your car forever it seems so Ms. Cranky was glad to get home and hop a good old bus yesterday.  She’s had enough traffic jams for a while but it’s always good to get away and it’s always good to be with young children and soft dogs and travel gives such perspective, it gives you a chance to remember people and things you might have forgotten in the hubbub of daily life.

So, Cranky’s back home and revved up for fall and its many offerings in this great city.  Her calendar is already full for next week. And this Sunday she will be joining with other New Yorkers in remembrance of that horrendous, unbearable day 10 years ago though it seems impossible that it’s been that many years. 
At the time of the tragedy, Ms. Cranky was working at a magazine that had a huge rifle on display and dead animals hanging from the walls and right over her desk a set of antlers.  Ms. Cranky needs to work badly and cannot afford to say “no” to a job but this magazine was a hunting magazine and Cranky’s a total animal lover.  But, on that day of all days, it was better that she be where she was than where she usually worked which was directly across the highway from the World Trade Center or she would have looked out the window and seen things that no one should ever ever see and that no one should certainly have ever ever gone through. 
So, Cranky sat in that magazine office after all her colleagues went home (she could not get through to her neighborhood till later that night), all upset with huge brown deer eyes staring knowingly over her.  It was an incongruous situation at best, that job.  But, on the most incongruous day ever, Cranky tried to make the most of it.  She was afraid and lonely in the now empty offices but she was more afraid to go outside.
Ms. Cranky is glad to be home and after Sunday’s many remembrance activities, she’ll get cranked up again and write more columns.
But, for now, she wishes you a happy end of summer and joins with all in your thoughts, feelings and prayers this Sunday.
My best to all the families and friends directly affected by September 11, 2001.  There are no words.  But, then, there never were.

Ms. Cranky
September 8, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Ms. Cranky was fighting with her crossword puzzle and not really listening to entertainment TV the other night when she started hearing these reports about the Kardashian sisters’ closets.  Again, not paying much attention but trying to get ‘#64 down,’ the information kept coming at her from out of the TV set --- did they really say like ‘300 some pocket books and 51 clutches,’ but poor Courtney only has ‘273 pocket books and 51 clutches,’ 51 seems to be the magic number for clutches in that family. A ‘clutch’ for someone who doesn’t know is a smaller bag that you just --- clutch to you; it has nothing to do with gears on your car.  Cranky guesses it’s something you might take to a party when you don’t want to be seen with a bigger bag, but, then, as Ms. Cranky always thinks --- who really cares?  Ms. Cranky has but one purse and not a clutch to be seen.
But, the story about the closets must have bothered Cranky more than she thought because she kept thinking --- ‘I have one bag and that’s fine with me and I usually carry my Wegman’s tote bag for extra things --- library books, light groceries, crosswords to do while waiting for buses, riding the subway, etc.’
Then, Ms. Cranky remembered where she got her purse, quite nice though small.  It was left behind under a desk at a temp job she was at and when they were moving offices, no one wanted it and voted it should go to Ms. Cranky.  It was worn some but it still worked. 
Cranky began using it last summer after her other bag, a hand me down from a friend she loves, got stolen when she was out trying to keep pickers out of the garbage pails in front of her building.  The pickers were really making a mess of everything.  Someone next door had moved and just threw all their stuff --- clothes, shoes, full diaries and all out onto the street, not even in trash bags.  But, when the pickers were gone, so was Ms. Cranky’s purse, her good deed undone. 
Ms. Cranky wonders what she would do with more than one hand bag?  Where does one get the time to change your things around and what if you forgot your Metro card in the new purse, how would you explain that to the bus driver?  But, Ms. Cranky thinks the Kardashian sisters don’t ride the bus a lot.
Ms. Cranky got to thinking that if the Kardashian sisters auctioned off even ½ of the many purses they have, think of the money they could raise for charity?  And, if they auctioned off half, they would still have 26 clutches each.  Are there even 26 different colors for these things to go with?  And, where do they find the time to shop for all this stuff?  Not to mention storing it, repairing it.  It’s all Ms. Cranky can do to work, wash her kitchen floors which look dirty again before the mop dries, cook, move a button and fix a hem here and there and participate in the great life of her city and area.
Yikes, and this Kardashian wedding this weekend?  Ms. Cranky will probably miss it; she thinks it’s probably on some cable TV station that she doesn’t get. 
Oh, well, she’ll have to garden, swim, get ready for the annual block party and go to church and pray for her many friends with horrid ailments and surgeries ahead of them who just want to be healthy again and to hell with another purse!

Thanks for stopping by.  Ms. Cranky would love to know what you think of having 273 purses? 
Keep truckin’ as they used to say and Cranky never knew what it meant then either.

Yours, Ms. Cranky

August 18, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011


Ms. Cranky is most excited that people can get married who love each other no matter what their sexual orientation is.  Love counts and a couple of friends of hers who have been together 27 together are now going to be able to legally claim their love!  Wow.  And, our Mayor Michael Bloomberg, ever the good businessman, has put out an open invitation to gay couples to come be married in our wonderful city, stay in our hotels, use our caterers and dining establishments, and hire a Rabbi, priest or Guru of their choosing.

But, living in New York City and trying to get around crowded areas can cause Cranky to be very, uhh, ‘unromantic’ so before the Mayor of New York City invites any more couples to be married here, a few ground rules need to be set down.  Please don’t think Cranky isn’t all for love and marriage, she just sometimes needs to get someplace and if people are holding hands all over the sidewalk, it’s hard to navigate around them.  There are two resolutions she wants to propose to the Mayor for possible promulgation.

Resolved:  That there can be no hand holding in Times Square on weekends or at major holiday times.  Ms. Cranky’s real sorry but if you’ve ever tried to get through to an appointment or a shop or to the theater when the area is crowded, you’ll understand.    If you’re lucky, you can get around one person ahead of you but when there are two adults holding hands, swinging them in joy in fact, all starry-eyed and looking up and around at the bright lights and tall buildings, you just can’t get through.  Cranky has a friend in a wheelchair and she sometimes accompanies him and his wife to the theater and getting through crowds at 7:30 at night, is agonizingly slow with or without a wheelchair. You could miss the whole first act.

Oh, Cranky knows you’ll say “But we came to New York for our honeymoon so of course we’re holding hands” and that’s nice, it really is. Cranky is thrilled for you and thrilled you chose New York over Des Moines or somewhere else. We very much appreciate and need the business.  It’s a great town and we are glad you chose us and we love love but you’ll find more room to hold hands down in the Battery area.  You could go down to the Battery and carry on all you want and see the Statue of Liberty while you’re at it.  Or, wait, you could always go over to10th Avenue and hold hands --- just not in Times Square itself.  
Or, come out between midnight and 8 a.m. and walk around --- now, that would work!  And, don’t worry, there are lots of people out, it’s not ever deserted but it’s easier getting through the streets during those hours

We sincerely hope you have a great visit in our wonderful city and hope you might come back for future anniversaries.

Oh, and one more thing ---

Resolved:  That there be no linking of arms of whole huge families in the Times Square area.  Once again, we’re sorry to have to make this regulation and we’re so glad to have you here and, yes, we understand you’re from Nebraska and you’ve saved up for years to visit us (thanks, very nice) and you’re all thrilled to be in the middle of New York City as a family --- that’s lovely, that’s commendable even but if you get all excited and link arms, nobody can get past you.  So sorry to have to say it.  We hope you understand, and, of course, we do hope you come back.

All the best,

Ms. Cranky

With copy to Mayor Michael Bloomberg
August 11, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011


Ms. Cranky wonders about the closed MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) booths where customers could get Metro cards, maps, information and actual help.  She knows it is a ‘money thing’ but was baffled once again last Friday evening when she came home from the Adirondack Mountains lugging her stuff and was confronted with no booth or help available in, of all places, Penn Station.   How can this be?  It’s bustling, it’s a tourist mecca and our city always claims it needs tourists.  Cranky can’t tell you the number of times she’s rescued stranded tourists who couldn’t figure out the Metro card machine, who needed directions, etc. and were getting fed up. It’s baffling.  Here of all places where an MTA booth could help the city make money.
But this story is Ms. Cranky’s own.  She had come home from the Adirondack Mountains by car and train, about a 6 hour trip.  She was covered with bug bites, (someone loves her) and carrying a bunch of luggage. Next to the Long Island Railroad and below the AMTRAK Station, going into the subway was incredibly hot.  And, now Cranky was finally nearing the “A” train and a subway trip home where she was longing to be but her Metro card stuck in the slot at the turnstile.  This often happens, especially when the turnstiles haven’t been cleaned, you can actually feel your card stick as you go to swipe it but the MTA rule is to keep on trying at that particular turnstile which Ms. Cranky did, over and over.  Her biggest suitcase was already pushed under and on the other side.  But, the slot wouldn’t let her go through, it stuck and stuck so she did what she knew was a sin with a capital “S,” she tried the next area and got the error message, “already used”  which means you are stuck waiting 18 minutes until you can try your card again. 
In other stations like at Borough Hall # 4 and #5 stations, when this happens as it did a lot last winter when Cranky was teaching in the Bronx, there is a booth and an attendant who can look at your card, see that it’s valid, and let you go through.  But, not here at big time Penn Station.  You’re just stuck after a 6 hour trip from up north with your luggage, the awful heat and Cranky guesses you’re supposed to lean against a wall and wait, there’s sure no place to sit.

Cranky was sad.  She goes to this wonderful Writers’ Retreat every year but mid-week this year, she got homesick and then sick sick and all she wanted to do now, at 7 on a Friday evening, was go home, touch her cat, see her beautiful flowers and be in that most wonderfully named place of all --- home.
So, now she pulled her bag back and under and was upset that she would have to wait 18 minutes in this sticky atmosphere. 
Cranky must have looked real discouraged because this lovely young man just ‘arrived’ at her side and asked if he could help her, thinking she needed help getting her bags through.  She said, “No, my card stuck 6 times and now I have to wait 18 minutes to use it again.”  He was, in fact, also really very nice looking, something Cranky couldn’t help but notice even in her upset state.
The young man went easily through a turnstile and Cranky thought that was that when suddenly she heard a loud buzzer noise and someone hollering and looked to see that he had gone in, gone over to the emergency door, opened it and was now beckoning Ms. Cranky to sneak in that way.
Which, she did without thinking and Cranky is terrified of police and jail and such, but she really wanted to be HOME.  No hand arrived on her shoulder, and she didn’t land in jail, thank heavens.  She thanked the young man profusely, he didn’t have to do that and he went on his way and Cranky lugged her stuff up the stairs to wait for the subway.
Anyway, it wasn’t really cheating as Cranky has a monthly unlimited card for all her roaming about.  She can’t help it if the slots aren’t always clean.
Thank you kind and most handsome young man.  Ms. Cranky usually does not concentrate on superficial things like looks but she couldn’t help but notice and, not only was the man most attractive but he was kind and caring as well which makes a person much more beautiful.
Dear MTA and Mayor Bloomberg --- what is it with this decision to close the ticket booth at, of all places, Penn Station?  Hire me, I’ll greet and direct and help people and they’ll spend more money and want to come back to our wonderful city.  But, could I have one of those little portable fans on my shoulder?

Hey, thanks for stopping by.  Ms. Cranky hopes that your little and big roamings are pleasant and that you too will be aided by a stranger or a friend is fine too.  Thank you kind and thoughtful stranger!!!

Ms. Cranky, August 8, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Ms. Cranky just got back from her annual Writer’s Retreat in the splendiferous Adirondack Mountains.  Cranky had known the Adirondack area from childhood and considers the mountains her sacred home, plus she wasn’t very cranky as a youngster.  When she arrives in the Mountains, her life clicks into place and she pretends for a week or so to be an Adirondack Woods woman though she is very urban the rest of the year, as we all know.
Unfortunately the bugs, consider Ms. Cranky a ‘hot chick’ if you will, so if you should see someone walking down the street showing a small bit of skin between huge red-purple bites, that could be Ms. Cranky.  Pass the ointment, if you will, though the doctor just told her most don’t work, so much for all the $ Cranky already handed over to CVS!
But, in the Adirondack Mountains, the air is so fresh, the smell of pine intoxicating, the lake brilliant and clear and cold, the skies bright blue with wondrous wisps of clouds and the trees make lilting noises from various winds.  Ms. Cranky’s family lost their mountain camp many years ago and she recently found this new place and honors the whole area as a gift of huge proportions.  It’s Cranky’s true spiritual home and, hey, it’s the bugs’ home too.  Ya gotta respect ‘em.
But, even in the sacredness of the Adirondack Mountains, there can be problems though this one was minor:
Ms. Cranky woke up the second night in her cabin with noise from under another bed in her room.  She got up, turned on the light and out popped the most beautiful chipmunk she had ever seen.  She followed him into the living room of her cabin until he zipped under the back door and all she could see was his gorgeous multi-colored tail, striped of shiny rich black, white and orange. 
And, over the next few days, a relationship built, or so Ms. Cranky thought.  The gorgeous creature would be there when she returned from class with his cute little face and bright dark eyes. She would talk quietly to him until he eventually skittered off.  The chipmunk was even more skittery than Ms. Cranky is accused of being, or maybe it’s just that they both have a ‘short attention span.’
Ms. Cranky quickly announced to anyone at the writer’s retreat who would listen that she had a ‘pet’ chipmunk;   Cranky always was a bit too eager to announce things. 
And, she was sure that the tiny chipmunk was a boy.  “Pete,” Cranky named the gorgeous several ounce animal, a good old name but, then, Pete was so tiny that she changed his name to "Petey."  Maybe changing his name was the problem --- who ever knows? 
Petey was there several more times when Cranky got back to her cabin after class or swimming.  Petey made so much noise chewing on crackers, you’d think he was chewing through steel.  The crackers had fallen out of Ms. Cranky’s ‘cracker box’ one late night while she was reading on the porch.   But, she feared that if she swept them up, she’d wake her cabin mates who were early-to-bed types.
Then, after a few days of being excited about Petey and talking about him and researching proper food Cranky should feed him, Petey was gone.  The crackers were too.
Ms. Cranky thought that she had left those kind of guys behind many years ago but here it was happening again even in the hallowedness of the Adirondack Mountains, even with a being that probably didn’t weigh a pound.
She kept thinking Petey would come back but he never did.  Cranky knew that human men acted that way sometimes but, for some reason, she thought the chipmunk population would be a notch up the evolutionary ladder.  Okay, maybe Cranky should have named him “Arnold.” 
Later in the week, her cabin mate, Jane, a lovely woman who wanted Ms. Cranky not to be sad, said “I saw Petey today --- he came back” but Ms. Cranky had seen that chipmunk.  And, it wasn’t Petey --- the colors were all wrong; it was a perfectly fine chipmunk that stayed awhile and Cranky talked to her and, though she had no crackers to offer, the chipmunk hung around. Ms. Cranky speaks only English, a very few words in Italian but she knows nothing in “Chipmunkese.”
Oh, well, as they say in the movies --- ‘it was just a summer romance’ --- and, we all know how those end!   But, it wasn’t even Labor Day, it was only late July and it was about running out of crackers.

Ms. Cranky thanks you for coming by --- more tomorrow.  She’s totally back to urban life.  
Have a wonderful day, evening, whenever you read this.  I pray people have been polite and considerate to you of late.  It makes life so much easier and sweeter and it’s so easy to do --- don’t you just love it when it happens???
Signing off,
Ms. C.

P. S.  As Cranky was writing this about Petey, the little ingrate though handsome as hell, she had the radio on and the wonderful Tina Turner was singing --- “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” --- Perfect, Petey - -- you just go into the woods and under the door of another cabin and befriend a new push-over --- you little rascal.  But, while you were around, you were a joy.  Thanks for stopping by, Petey.  May the wind forever be at your tiny little beautifully-striped back.  It was fun while it lasted!