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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

MS. CRANKY, THANKSGIVING EVE, 2O12 --- The End of a Long Subway Ride

Ms. Cranky was coming home from a long, long subway ride and a wait for a volunteer job that didn’t work out.  She changed trains once again through the long Court House Square Station in Queens to get the “G” train home to her, now, cat- sitting job.  Suddenly there was this loud hollering in her ear and two, one quite tall, young boys were talking to each other but hollering though they were but three feet away from each other and could have talked normally.  The noise reverberated even more in the long underground of the low-ceilinged corridors of the huge station.  And, Ms. Cranky’s nerves weren’t the best after a long trip with no results except for a very nice grilled cheese sandwich, thank you very much.

So, Ms. Cranky did what she often does when people are hollering behind her.  She stepped aside and let them get in front of her and holler in someone else’s ear.  Nice person --- huh???  Cranky did notice that the one boy was awfully cute and, for a bit, envied him his energy, annoying as it was to her peace of mind.

Several thousand stops later or, so it seemed, Ms. Cranky emerged from the “G” train to run errands before the beloved cat job.  As she was moving quickly along the corridor at the Carroll Street Station, there walked the taller of the two boys, beside her --- “was she being followed?” 

As they got to the end of the, again, very long narrow corridor, and to the enclosed staircase (worse for noise), the boy started hollering again, this time, at a hugely high level and right into Ms. Cranky’s ear.  She turned to glare, hoping to stop him but he kept wildly screaming back to his friend.  Ms. Cranky is not sure what she did then, hurried as fast as she could up the stairs to get away from this craziness for sure, and she thinks she might have been waving her arm back to indicate --- ‘please, please stop screaming, enough already!’ And she knows she swore, but, quietly.

But, out on the street, a shocking thing occurred --- the young boy caught up with her and APOLOGIZED, like apologized for screaming in her ear, like apologized like people used to do!!!  This was totally a shock to Ms. Cranky, a very pleasant one but a shock nonetheless --- an apology!!!  Wow, sometimes, it takes so little to turn the day ‘round.

Cranky was touched, shocked, bowled over.  She thanked the lovely-looking, if not always sounding, young man with the great haircut, for apologizing.  And, then Cranky added --- “Maybe I’m jealous; maybe I just wish I had your energy --- if only for a moment!”

Happy THANKSGIVING to one and all and thanks for stopping by.  It’s a lovely holiday though in the New York area muted this year.  It’s hard to enjoy the day like we usually do with so many of our citizens suffering so since the hurricane, so many are still without, it hurts us all as we are joined, thank God, we are joined.
Ms. Cranky, November 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012



It may not be true, you can’t always ‘trust the media’ but it was reported on the news late last week that BeyoncĂ© and JZ and Baby Blue (though she doesn’t sign the checks yet), rented a place in the Hamptons for $400,000 a month, a month, not a year, not buying.
Ms. Cranky didn’t get really upset over the discrepancy in her money and theirs but she did get incredulous.  Not only about where does one get that kind of money but --- isn’t that a lot for a house for one lousy month?  
Cranky well knows that there are very rich people in the culture, some in her neighborhood (!) and there are sports figures and rock stars along with the ordinary Wall St. types but this $400,000 summer rental is bowling her over, it must be bowling the poor little baby over, or maybe they have a bowling alley too.  Ms. Cranky feels that if you rent an expensive home in the Hamptons, you really need a bowling alley.  I mean George’s on Route 5 just won’t do.  I mean, you’ve gone all the way out to Long Island, you’re lost in the beauty of the dunes and the long lovely-sounding grasses, you’re at a wonderful private beach, there’s a pool, so, of course, you’d be lost without bowling!
Maybe Cranky got her facts wrong while being bowled over --- ha, ha, ha.  In fact, Cranky is getting so confused she might need a bowl of Wheaties --- ha, ha, ha.
So, as Cranky does when she can’t deal with things, she puts them aside and reads a book or does a puzzle that makes her so mad she can’t think of anything else. But, the next day, it came back to her and she began thinking of the amount once again, thinking of what she had earned for most of her life and trying to figure out how many years it would take to save up $400,000 if she had to spend nothing for food, rent, bus fare, etc. --- 16, sixteen years, actually, maybe more like 20, when she thinks of some of those years.  It was easy; she did the math in her head on the subway.  Wow.
She wonders if that fee includes paper towels? Salt and pepper, good salt and pepper, not those little paper things Ms. Cranky steals from fast food places.  Is there mustard for the hot dogs?  Ya’ gotta have hotdogs --- it’s summer.  A wine cellar --- hmm, now things are starting to look up, fully stocked, of course?
Ms. Cranky will refrain from making any comparisons to the lives of this family (they work for their money) and her life and some of her friends’ lives.
$400,000!   Wow, that could buy Cranky a nice little apartment, maybe in an elevator building and an apartment newly crisply painted.  And, then, she’d be able to live the rest of her life, using coupons still and cooking daily, but she could take her nephews on trips and, maybe, be able to afford a little, well mid-sized, doggie.
She would still donate which she does now but she’d have more to donate.  Currently Ms. Cranky is valiantly trying to refrain from giving money to every subway station musician or group but it’s hard, real hard, especially when the subway musicians carry heavy things down the stairs to set up --- how can Cranky not tip them with their drums and tubas and, sometimes, there’s this guy with a piano???  I mean, come onnnnnn!
(Cranky once told a guy on the “F” train that she always tipped musicians who were ‘on key,’ but the person, a sort of jaundiced-in-attitude type but she liked him anyway, said that he ‘always tipped the ones singing off key --- hoping they’d stop!!!’  There are some things Ms. Cranky just can’t forget.  And, why would she want to???)
It’ll be hard for her to get over thinking of $400,000 rent for a house at the shore for one month but, then, of course, if there’s a bowling alley --- that would explain everything.

Ms. Cranky, Monday, August 13, 2012, a lighter air day
Thanks for stopping by, as always.  Have a great end to your summer, however and wherever you get to spend it.

(An explanation --- Ms. Cranky was one of the worst bowlers ever.  It was embarrassing how bad she was, especially coupled with how hard she tried.  But, the one thing about bowling she remembers she liked was the ambience of an old crumby bowling alley on some highway on the outskirts of town with its neon signs, horrible run-down shoes and permeating smell of stale beer.  Who would give up that?)

Friday, July 27, 2012


Ms. Cranky loves a good bodega, those little stores all over the city with either bright red and yellow signs or paler, faded-looking signs.  Cranky doesn’t know if the latter signs are bought faded (like, it’s the style) or they become faded.  She’d like to think the latter.
Bodegas have all the little odds and ends one needs from newspapers to snacks to an ice cold bottle of water.  Where Ms. Cranky taught this spring in East New York, there was a shiny clean bodega that even had a small butcher in the back.  They’re usually family-owned and operated.  There is often a cat, whether legal or not.  Neighbors and family members hang out talking; sometimes they sit at a table in the back and play cards or dominos.  A bodega is a cherished New York City institution, so when Ms. Cranky heard that over 100 brand new shiny ‘7-11’s’ were going to open in the city, she felt heartsick.
There’s nothing wrong with a ‘7-11’ (maybe, out on the highway would be nice!). They’re bright and fluorescent-lit and seemingly clean but they’re A CHAIN, a huge chain, and, though you can get very nice staff, they’re not family-run, they’re not intimate, they’re not different one from another and there will be no one playing cards in the back and certainly no cat sitting on the cash register.  Latter story below:
Once there was a wonderful Korean bodega-deli in Brooklyn (‘bodega’ was once used for stores run by Spanish people but is now universally used for all small marts, no matter what nationality). In that wonderful friendly shop, the cat sat on top of the cash register and the two twinkly brothers who ran the place often seemed to not want to move her so they could make their transactions.  The place was on a once very rough corner where Cranky waited for the bus.  It was considered then the most dangerous corner in Brooklyn (now, of course, it’s ‘trendy’).  So, Ms. C. was always glad for respite from her bus wait and the brothers sold single roses for one dollar and Ms. Cranky loved to get one to take home.
But, the real story of this place is that when the two brothers decided to return to Korea after 35 years in business here (to care for their older brother), the neighborhood was bereft.  Because, besides the cat sitting on the cash register and the lovely single roses, the two had been feeding for all those years many a needy person.  They never announced it, no one knew, but when they got ready to leave the area, word got out and there were all these wonderful well-deserved newspaper articles about them. 
Maybe Cranky’s wrong, she hopes she is; maybe the ‘7-11’s’ won’t cause hurt to the bodegas, delis, mini marts, she so treasures but when she read that first article about the chain moving in, it was presented as a big threat so she’s worried and wonders if anyone else is? 
Quality of life is not about bright and shiny, we all know that.

Thanks for stopping by.  Ms. Cranky hopes you have a wonderful weekend and would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of this column.  Ms. Cranky, though everyone knows she’s cheap, err, frugal, has always tried to support small stores as much as she can --- because she likes them, because they’re a comfort, because you can buy one onion when you need it and because people smile and wonder how you are and where you’ve been and there’s usually a cat she can call by name and, sometimes, pet.

Ms. Cranky, Friday, July 27, 2012, Brooklyn, NY --- slightly cooler, rough storms yesterday, hope everyone’s okay.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Ms. Cranky was riding down from the hallowed Adirondack Mountains where she goes to a Writer’s Retreat each year.  She was still in a wonderful mood and determined to hold onto it.  She had decided that when she got home, she wouldn’t check email or phone messages for a few days.  She would try to stay in this wonderful, as she imagined it to be, ‘Zen-like’ mode.
In the last few years coming out of the Adirondacks, Ms. Cranky has gotten a ride to the train station in Albany from her cabin-mate, Jane and that gives them time to talk as Jane uses her time in the mountains to truly write because she has a full time job at home and not much time for writing.  Ms. Cranky’s myriad of part time jobs, however, are ‘fluffier’ than her cabin-mate’s and don’t really interfere with her writing.
So, they were riding along chatting away when, out of nowhere and in a road repair area with Jane going exactly as fast as she was allowed to drive according to the signs came this guy in a black SUV (thanks for contributing to our warm air, buddy boy) and he rode on the tail of Jane’s car (and, Jane is a calm type compared to Ms. C. but even she got upset).  This jerk generally terrorized us for several miles and when we finally got out of the repair zone, he made it a point to ZOOM fast around us, pass us in the right lane and look over and gloat in our direction.  Ms. Cranky hollered a few unsacred, not Adirondacky, words at this bozo and slowly it seeped in what might be ahead for her in the so-called ‘real world.’
Ms. Cranky bid her lovely cabin-mate goodbye at the Albany Amtrak station, a place she loves, a beautiful bright new train station.  And, she was, once again, in a lovely what-she-thinks-is a Zen mountain mood when she got directions from a very attractive and affable conductor and boarded the train. 
Cranky admits to carrying a lot and she was just starting down the aisle with a myriad of bags and pulling a suitcase when this lovely-‘looking’ mature couple came in through the side door.  They actually had gray and white hair, he even looked distinguished but, just as Cranky was starting to walk down the aisle to get a seat, they cut her off, did a ‘vee’ formation (ala subway behavior) and traipsed up the aisle ahead of her!
Was Cranky suddenly invisible?   She might have been very slightly slimmer from all her walking and swimming but she was 5 6/12 and not exactly teeny, if you get her drift. 
         Then, to add to her upset, as Cranky followed behind these people, the man with white hair, stood and stood and stood some more blocking the aisle, trying to decide where to put his bags, talking to the woman, all smiling.  They must not have been married, Cranky surmised, as he seemed to be really trying to impress her.  But, he was not impressing Ms. Cranky and, in fact, looked at her waiting with all her bags held aloft and totally ignored her a few more times!
Cranky was just about SNORTING by now.  Perhaps, she truly was invisible.  Maybe something weird had happened up in the mountains.  But, mostly she was hurt and surprised.  This was only Albany but, as she thought about it later, they were heading to New York.  They might, she feared, be ‘New Yorkers.’  Welcome back, Ms. Cranky.  Welcome back to being ignored and demeaned.
Cranky would like to re-live this whole incident over again but she was in too good a mood at the time and taken off guard.  In hindsight, Cranky’d love to have said when the man and woman vee-ed in front of her, then clogged up the aisles like, forever --- “Hey, I’m here too and I was just starting to go down the aisle.  Can you really not see me???  Or, are you just pompous idiots?”
It was just a ‘little murder’ of the soul but little murders add up.  And, besides, and this is very hard to say, the ‘couple’ got the last good window for Ms. Cranky’s favorite train trip, along the Hudson.  Cranky’s window was a mere slit but sometimes she ventured back to the other train car and found a free seat next to a full window.  She might have been hurt and ignored but she couldn’t let this time and the lovely view go, no never, first things first!

Hey, thanks, as always, for stopping by.  It’s good to be home.  Ms. Cranky loves our city and her borough but some rude behaviors get to her.  Her neighborhood was delightful to see again.  Her ‘morning’ glories across from the subway exit were out at night.  The air had, thankfully, cooled the last few days and her cat was waiting for her by the door.
What more could one want? --- A brilliant Writer’s Retreat in the beauty of the majestic mountains and morning glories at night? 
Well, a little thoughtfulness added in would be nice, especially, on the part of a middle-aged couple who should have known better.

Come again.  Ms. C., July 24, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012


Two small events happened that put Ms. Cranky in a good mood.  One is an ongoing one but one she doesn’t always get to participate in when she’s not working ‘regular,’ like 9-5 hours and that is the nice people who pass out the free papers at the subway stations.  Where do they train them?  Where do they get these people?  The papers are, of course, the METRO and AM  NY.  The METRO guy at Ms. Cranky’s local subway station is real pleasant but Cranky hadn’t seen this guy as she works at lot of very odd jobs with funny time frames --- walk the dog at midnight?  Sure, sure.  Work the polls from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. --- hey, why not???  Friday night babysitting, Saturday afternoon cat sitting, so this morning was the first Cranky had seen the newspaper guy in a long while and he was, once again, charming and smiling like Ms. Cranky was the best thing he could imagine seeing and when he handed her the paper, he wished her not a good day but a ‘beautiful day,’ Ms. Cranky melted (but, of course, it was already 92 degrees at 7 a.m.) but, she literally, melted with good feeling.
This made Cranky recall the amazing woman at the Chambers Street “A” subway station who dispenses the AM paper.  She’s at the front of the train going into town right at Chambers St. and it’s worth the price of the ride just to meet her in the morning.  The woman’s there no matter how hot or cold and she dispenses her free papers with a smile and a ‘good morning’ and, once again, it feels like she’s genuinely delighted to see you and Ms. Cranky wonders why whoever trains these free paper crews couldn’t train some other, ahem, personnel who are not very personable where Cranky always wants to say --- “I’m so sorry I asked you a question, it must have really hurt you to answer!”   But, she rarely says things like that, not wanting to make a grouch any grouchier.  The latter people look when they direct their vision to you like they’ve maybe got a bad stomach ache and maybe they do. 
Then, Cranky attended this superb resume writing class at the Unemployment Office led by this wonderful teacher who teaches us the tricks of getting resumes across the complicated skein of computer programs.  Cranky took this as a repeat class as she found she needed to hear it again and the guy was great.   Ms. Cranky has found the unemployment people at this point in her life wonderful and supportive, unlike the first time she was laid off, back in Ronald Reagan’s reign of terror.  Then, and Ms. Cranky had never lost a job before so she cried a lot, the people who waited on her and her fellow citizens seemed to enjoy pouring more salt on your wounds.  Cranky used to go to the Unemployment Office and expect to see a shooting when someone would just lose it --- first by losing a job, then by being treated like scum by a bureaucrat with a regular income.  But, things have improved, at least in her local Brooklyn office where from Security Guard at the door straight through, everyone is helpful and welcoming.  It’s so easy to be nice and it has to be as easy as looking dyspeptic.
But, the second enhancement to Ms. Cranky’s good morning, well, maybe the third by the time she threw in the whole Unemployment staff, is such a simple thing but one that has made people so happy.
At a local bus stop where Cranky wiles away too much time, she takes public transportation all day and often night long, just two weeks ago, out of nowhere, --- no warning, no mention, no fanfare --- arrived one day a bench, a plain silvery bench, no back to it, nothing fancy but simply a bench near the bus stop that could sit 6 people if nobody’s too chubby.  And, this was the second time Cranky got to use it and  the second time the wonders of having this simple addition to one’s daily life sparked friendly conversation from other bench sitters who were thrilled, like thrilled, to have this city-borough-MTA-whatever gift dropped out of nowhere near the corner of Court Street and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.  Ms. Cranky knows that she is a push-over for small nice things but, about this bench, many people seem truly pleased. 
Ms. Cranky always says --- “It takes so little to make me happy” and it does so the gifts of the nice newspaper guy wishing her a beautiful day, the memory of  the other newspaper woman up in Manhattan making everyone feel welcome and good about themselves, the kind  and smart people at the Unemployment  Office--- who would have thought?  And, this simple, simple placing of a bench near a bus stop so we could sit a bit while we waited.  It takes so little, it really does.
Have a good day, evening, week, whatever.  Please feel free to write me any nice little tidbits about smiling people and brand new benches and I’ll put them in my column and, of course, give you credit!

Thanks, as always, for stopping by and please come again. 
Ms. Cranky, Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012


Ms. Cranky has talked about this subject before but, no worries, this is from a 5 cent different angle.  Some might know that Ms. Cranky hates that things are marked $8.99 and $4.99 and that major TV hosts announce these prices as if, they too, are fooled that the prices aren’t like really $9 and $5 bucks.  Ms. Cranky doesn’t think her hallowed Barbara Walters does it but some of her charges do, really smart people and they act so excited about the price.
Ms. Cranky was recently deposed by a good friend to a chain store to pick up new pants and a t-shirt for a job interview.  Ms. Cranky hates to shop, will not try on (too painful) and does not like to spend money period.  But, she had made the mistake of telling a friend she was going on a job interview the next day and thought maybe her best pants wouldn’t work.  Ms. Cranky’s very best and quite nice black pants from Penney’s had to have the cuffs repaired and Ms. Cranky couldn’t find her black thread, though of course she did after the pants were repaired, so she hitched up the cuffs with brown thread instead although brown thread’s still better than the tiny gold pins Cranky usually uses!
She wears these pants on state occasions when she meets and greets people at events and she smiles a lot and thinks that no one is noticing her cuffs at that time.  They’re out for a good evening and it’s not about Cranky’s garb.
But, her friend was adamant that she could not go ‘frayed’ into the job interview, ouii, and pushed her, well, very much encouraged Ms. Cranky to go along only a few blocks down to a major chain store and get new clothes for the interview. 
Ms. Cranky did as she was told but was horrified by the not too good materials in this place and the prices were definitely not cheap.  Ms. Cranky favors Penney’s but it was too far away.  She looked at a few things, grabbed a pair of black pants in a size she hoped would fit and a few men’s tee shirts that were on sale.  Cranky thinks that men’s clothes are made better, are roomier, etc. and that women get the short shrift in clothes.  Women’s clothes, she thinks are more skimpily made with materials that don’t hold up. 
But, Cranky was, though not thrilled to be in the store in the first place, shocked at how high the prices were for stuff not that good and, then, to add to her already jaundiced view of things, the price wasn’t $19.99,  it was, instead, $19.94!!!  How adorable!  Where do they come up with these great ideas anyway?  Wait till they gush about that price on television.  Maybe the chain store had read Ms. Cranky’s other columns and decided to reform.  Wow, sometimes you just don’t know where the surprises are coming from.
Ms. Cranky would love to hear what you think about these ridiculous pricing notions and wonders --- ‘are we really dumb enough to fall for this?’ 
By the way, the interview went quite well and Cranky got excited about the creative possibilities of the job.  And, she got to walk in Riverside Park after, a mystical place she adores but by the time she wandered home, Cranky’s new pants were pretty wrinkled up, the man’s tee shirt, though, was just fine.

Ms. Cranky, June 2012, thanks for stopping by and come again!

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Ms. Cranky was on a trip away that lasted only one day and 14 hours but in that time, there were all these price things that got to her (you should know that Cranky has yet to feel better about the ‘sale’ on gum --- a sale for $1.49 plus tax!  Whatever happened here???  At this rate, she’ll have to stop offering gum to everybody.)
But, for this trip, Cranky was running a bit late because she usually hits the GNC vitamin store hidden in a corner of Penn Station and gets a huge bottle of water for $1.50.  Cranky knows that sounds like a lot but it’s a large and very cold bottle and Ms. Cranky is in love with its design.  The newsstand charges as much for a bottle a third its size.
But, last Saturday morning because she was late she went to purchase a small bottle of water from a ‘gourmet’ shop and it cost $2.50!!!  Cranky thought the woman said ‘$2.15’ and would have given her the rest as a tip.  But it was actually $2.50 for this small bottle, a pretty bottle okay, but, …. The woman behind the counter was great; Ms. Cranky said --- “I don’t believe the price but I’m thirsty and I’m getting on a train so what am I to do???”  The young woman answered with a sigh and stoicism ---    “Nawwwthing” she smiled!  Cranky thought --- ‘I think she’s heard this complaint before.’
At the next train station, Cranky already knew not to buy the coffee --- it was way over-priced and probably weak, the man who tried to sell it to her another time said --- “but, it’s cheaper than Dunkin’ Donuts” and Ms. Cranky, as nicely as she could, replied --- “but, Dunkin’ Donuts is way overpriced and I never buy theirs.”  So, she bought a little cake or something from him as she didn’t want him to feel bad. 
Then, last Saturday evening while out of town, Ms. Cranky went out of her way to get to this funky pizza parlor that served everything under the sun and was lots of fun.  If you sat in a little booth right inside the door,  you could watch the world stream by; it was located on a most active street and you never knew who might pop in.
Of course, when she finally got to this favorite place, as so many ‘favorite places’ of Cranky’s memory it had changed hands --- the old familiar booths were gone and in their place were those larger, louder, golden, glitzier booths which Cranky always found a bad sign, like she also thought huge laminated menus were a very bad sign. 
Cranky’s beloved little booth was gone, an empty spot remained to remind her and the counter was in a different place.  The long-standing Italian ownership looked to have retired.
But, Ms. Cranky soldiered on as she was, by now, really hungry and ordered a sandwich from a huge menu overhead.  She was really excited and pulled out her money when she heard a different and more expensive price quoted to her.  The money she held out was suddenly not enough.
Cranky said --- “But, I thought that was the price, pointing above to the huge sign done in bright red fluorescent paint.  But, the ‘new owner’ pulled open a brand new 'laminated' menu from the counter and showed her the new and, of course, ‘enhanced’ price.
When Ms. Cranky asked why the big sign above read differently, he just shrugged his shoulders.  It was late Saturday evening by now, there weren’t a lot of other places to go and, so, there was, once again, ‘nawwwwthing’ she could do
On her return to Penn Station but one day and 14 hours later, Cranky wanted to pick up some little thing to munch on, maybe one of those great pretzels they sell there.  Her dear friend, Alyson had bought her a lovely lunch for her train ride but she thought she’d use it for supper instead and pretend she was still on vacation, like a no cooking, no dishes vacation.
Cranky doesn’t treat herself a lot but she was still ‘officially on vacation’ and she had to walk right past the cute little pretzel stand to get to her subway line.  She quickly ordered and was handed a bag and, once again, pulled out money according to the price quoted on the sign above and, once again, she was given a different and, of course, inflated price. Why are they never lower prices!  Wouldn’t that be fun???
When Cranky asked --- “What about the price on the sign?” she was told by the young woman clerk ---- “Oh, the prices just went up today --- this morning.” 
Ms. Cranky mumbled that “I seem to be hearing this a lot lately, pulled out more money from her pocket, paid and walked away towards the subway and home. 
At least at home the prices stayed pretty much the same.

The week of June 4, 2012, keep those coupons handy and thanks, as always, for stopping by!  Ms. CRANKY would, of course, love to hear your stories of mysterious changing prices.  Stay well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Ms. Cranky traveled to another city this weekend for a party and other fun things and found herself hurtling through the streets in her New York City way and saying, ‘pardon me, excuse me’ to the many people in this smaller city who were taking nice walks, talking with each other, even, shockingly, ambling.  Ms. Cranky couldn’t stand how slow everything seemed; didn’t these people want to get to where they were going?  Didn’t they know that walking was for going from point “A” to point “B” as fast as you could without, hopefully, knocking someone down in the process. They were behaving like those “Sunday drivers” on expressways.
On her second day away, Cranky found herself slowing down but not much, you know the old NYC philosophy --- do as much as you can at every minute, fill in all the spaces, don’t leave a second when you’re not doing, going, learning or attending some special event that ‘can’t be missed.’  But, sure enough, by the second day away, Ms. Cranky was walking a bit slower, looking around more and just imbibing the beautiful weekend. 
On her third and last day, Ms. Cranky actually paid for coffee!!!  Out, in one of those over-priced bistro places that are too cute for words.  Ms. Cranky prides herself on making fabulous coffee in her home with coffees mostly bought on sale and so, is a coffee snob and as many already know, very, very frugal (call her cheap if you must!).  But the place where she was staying had a problem this time, like Ms. Cranky thinks maybe her friend took the pledge against coffee in the few years she hadn’t stayed at her lovely abode.  Maybe she had 'gone on the wagon’ so Cranky was forced to go out and buy a cup of coffee and, she found herself, after the shock of the price, loving the big old round cup and, instead of doing her crosswords obsessively or reading something she ‘should be reading,’ Cranky just sat, she sat and sipped her quite-good coffee and didn’t take her reading materials out of her bag!
Instead, on a misty Monday morning, Cranky simply looked out the windows and actually stared into space.  She found herself not doing anything. And, by the time another friend came to pick her up to go to lunch, Ms. Cranky had made a pledge of her own --- to go back to New York City and Brooklyn which can be pretty rushed on its own, albeit in a sweeter, more tree-filled way, and she vowed that she would begin making SPACES in her life, spaces where she just sat and looked out a window or stared into space and let the clouds in the sky drift by. And she vowed to let the thoughts in her head drift in and out and she would drink a cup of coffee out once a week (that shouldn’t break the bank) and sit with her fellow citizens and just be, JUST BEEEEEE. 
Ms. Cranky thanks you for stopping by as always and especially on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.  It is Cranky’s dear friend Alyson’s birthday and she is so glad Alyson was born. 
Cranky hopes Alyson has a great, great day and gives herself all the spaces needed to dream of a well-deserved fine future.

Ms. Cranky --- see you next time!

Monday, April 23, 2012


Ms. CRANKY had to get pretty far to a performance a few weeks ago and, as ‘luck’ would have it, it was a weekend when the subways near her house were being repaired and she would first have to take a ‘shuttle bus’ and, from there, two subways.
Shuttle buses are usually fine; in fact, sometimes Ms. CRANKY thinks they’re better than the subways.  But, this particular bus did not work that way.
First it was packed, packed and Ms. CRANKY who loves little kids got a bit tired of being hit by their action toys when they fell into her while their father was on his cell phone or IPod or one of those, totally ignoring his pokey children.
But, the worst part was, and this was a slow day for traffic, that the driver inched along, like truly innnched along and there was no traffic to speak of.  So, it became a looonnng way to the subway station, a long lightly-trafficked way but this driver, he had looked somewhat ‘monastic’ in hindsight Ms. C. thought, seemed to be lost in a meditative trance.  CRANKY couldn’t believe it as she hates to be late and always sets out real early but it looked like, no matter how much time she gave herself this evening, she could still be late.
Cranky wondered if she should say something, she wondered if the pale young man was ill or had he driven way too many packed shuttle buses that day and had simply zoned out?   Ms. C. wondered if she got close enough to him, impossible with this crowd, if she’d hear him intoning --- “OHM, OHM.”
Cranky, as those who know her know can attest, can be a bit restive and impatient at the best of times but she wasn’t this evening as she had given herself so much extra time to get to where she was going but as the bus painfully plodded along, she began getting a bit, well, nuts.
When they finally reached Borough Hall and the beginning of the next two subways, Cranky was very relieved.  She didn’t even mind that it poured rain on her as she finally made it to Bushwick and ran to her performance place where bunches of  artists were celebrating the first anniversary of a wonderful group of storytellers, a lovely place to be on any night but especially in the rain with a bunch of excited writers.
Yet, Cranky still wondered and she mentioned it in her piece that night --- what was it about that shuttle bus driver???  Is it even possible to drive a packed city bus, filled with every kind of person including children plunging toys into Ms. Cranky’s ribs, at such a slow speed???  Can one mediate while driving a large heavy ctiy bus?  And where did this guy come from???
How did he pass the MTA driving test? 
And, the most interesting question for Ms. CRANKY, remained --- how of all the shuttle buses in the entire city, did she get on this one???  HOW???  You know --- ‘Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, etc.’ (from the movie CASABLANCA).
To figure this whole thing out, Ms. Cranky may just have to put herself into a trance! --- Excuse me --- “Ohm, ohm. “

Ms. CRANKY thanks you for stopping by and warns you to be careful when you get on a bus --- if the guy is real slim with his hair shorn, maybe you should be careful --- wait for the next bus or get ready to meditate.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


(on the Saturday eve before daylight savings time)

Ms. Cranky finds that some days everyone seems in utter despair and, then, on others, they’re quite cheerful.  Take the Saturday before Daylight Savings Time, for instance.  Ms. Cranky had an ordinary early March day when she had to go into Manhattan for a long meeting.  (By the way, Ms. Cranky’s volunteer activities are beginning to cost her a fortune – but, that’s another story!)
On the subway on the way in from Brooklyn, it seemed that everybody was talking to one another.  One conversation (Cranky thinks she might have started the whole thing by asking these guys what they were going to do with the antique shutters they were carrying?) began and from there it turned into several conversations and became lots of fun.
Then, after Cranky’s meeting as it was getting dark, the streets of Manhattan, from the 30’s up to the 60’s, were teeming, teeming with people and, though, you could hardly cross the street, Ms. Cranky quickly picked up the ‘spirit’ of the crowd though Ms. Cranky is still a little bit leery of crowds after her experience in December on the ‘Santa Claus Dress-Up-Day’ when she got walloped by a GIANT ELF on 7th Avenue.
But, this night, Saturday eve,  was not like that --- people were loud and laughing and talking but sweet too or they were quiet like Ms. Cranky and ‘in awe’ as if they had never seen the lights of Broadway before  --- but, sometimes it’s like you’re all ‘new’ and it’s your first time and you’re spellbound all over again.   That’s how Saturday evening in the city felt --- surprising, wondrous.
And, Ms. Cranky treasures many subway stations for their music --- and is never disappointed in the “F, N,R” etc. station under Macy’s at 34th and 6th Avenue and that Saturday night, the musicians (with lots of horns) were tremendous, and the audience was so happy and moving and grooving.  This group really got into it and there was even a tuba player --- a tuba player.  Ms. Cranky sometimes tips just because the artist has to carry heavy equipment down into a subway station.  But, these guys were fabulous and Cranky’s real sorry she couldn’t get close enough get to find out the group’s name --- next time, promise!!!
Then, on the “Q” train Cranky was taking to do an errand before going home, this lone guy gets on with some type of horn and with perfect pitch plays these haunting gooey slow-dance songs accompanied by background music from some box he was rolling along the aisle.
Ms. Cranky ALWAYS vows to only spend so much money a week on tips because she doesn’t have as much work as usual.  But, this week was a tough one for tips. 
But, tip jar notwithstanding, Cranky feels honored to live in a city where you never quite know what’s going to happen next (which, as we all know, is not always good!) but sometimes it’s just one wonderful surprise after another! Ms. Cranky had been previously thinking that everybody looked pretty gloomy and down on their luck but that Saturday it all changed back and life POPPED UP and talent asserted itself and people carrying antique shutters started several conversations and, then, we all gave helpful tips to tourists. 
Life, positive life and music happened and for Ms. CRANKY, at least, the gloom was gone.  Musicians performed, people who weren’t musicians were friendly and talked and, like the crocuses coming up through the hard wet earth, New York on that Saturday late afternoon and early evening, BLOOMED, zoomed, flowered --- came up from under --- becoming all that it’s capable of being --- spirited, thoughtful, kind, funky, mysterious, talented, musical, colorful, funny, endearing and forever interesting --- a bouquet of spring flowers of its very own being.

Thanks for stopping by.
Ms. CRANKY, March, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Ms. Cranky had a wonderful day yesterday and wants to talk about it before she gets, err, cranky again.  First there was a recital in the Bronx of some students she and her friends taught, a storytelling recital, like true stories and it was beautiful and touching and funny and the students shone and there were cookies and good strong coffee.  So, Ms. Cranky was on a roll and she had had a roll earlier that morning but now it was lunch time and she was in Manhattan trying valiantly to avoid spending $8 on a sandwich (!) when she remembered that Cosi sometimes had a chili special on Wednesdays that was reasonably priced and filling so she stopped by --- but she wasn’t prepared for all the other neat stuff that happened to her.
The staff was wonderful --- welcoming and helpful.  When she asked a young man where she could get water (usually they give you a cup and point you to a machine you can’t figure out and the water tastes like iced tea), he quickly smiled and said --- “I’ll bring you a glass” and he arrived at her table with this huge cold glass of water.  Then the waitress delivered her order and refused to take a tip from Cranky --- “no worry” she said, “give it to someone else.”  She too was all smiles --- had Ms. Cranky died and gone to heaven over night?   --- A reasonably-priced healthy lunch, a huge glass of icy water, smiling help and someone in NYC who didn’t want a tip??? 
The whole experience was lovely.  No one rushed her, she could take her time and do her crossword; people at the next table entered into a conversation with her --- was she in Dallas, maybe?  They’re real friendly in Texas, she’d heard.  Or, maybe, Oklahoma?  Somewhere West?  Then, when she went to the counter on her way out to get a take-out carton for her left-overs, another delightful young man took her bowl from her, whirled it away and brought it back all ready to go home. 
Everybody was helpful, everybody was smiling.  Something was right with this establishment and Ms. Cranky can’t wait to go back which is why she will not divulge which Cosi it is for fear of ruining a good thing.  These victories are not won every day.  They need to be cherished and protected.
Have a great day everybody, 6 more weeks of winter but at almost 60 degrees, that’s not bad.  And, this is the time of year Ms. Cranky suddenly brushes up on her football information and becomes a huge fan.  After hours of watching her nephews and now grandnephews scrimmage and play, she can ‘talk the talk’ with the best of them but only chooses to do it once a year because she loves parties.  But, this SUPERBOWL is really exciting; she has never seen her town so giddy.  And, it’s fun to be part of it.  Too bad she has a dentist appointment the next morning; bad planning, so, she’ll have to tone down her celebrations ---- GOOOOO GIANTS!!!!

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Ms. CRANKY, February 2, 2012, Groundhog Day

Monday, January 23, 2012


Ms. CRANKY is a bit of a snob about TV but she does, in fact, own one though she knows that that is not exactly the ‘in’ trend these days.   And, she picks and chooses what she watches and marks up her TV Guide she gets in the Sunday paper.  If there’s nothing really good on, she’d rather read or cook.  (Of course, she should clean!)
So, when Ms. CRANKY saw one of those magazine shows called ‘What Would You Do?’ she turned up her nose --- ‘what is this ‘Candid Camera’ for the 2000s,’ she thought?   How silly.  She would never be caught watching it.
But, then one night, CRANKY came upon the show and turned around in her thinking.  Because she likes human beings and, as you know, she very much loves when they behave well.  So, this show has actors acting unpleasantly to one another in a public place; then, there is a secret camera or cameras somewhere picking up the reactions of ordinary people around them and often those people rise up and confront the offending parties.  It touches Ms. CRANKY’S cranky old heart and gives her hope for us all.
Ms. CRANKY recalls one segment that spoke to her where a woman (an actor) berated her daughter (an actor) in a department store for ‘not being attractive enough, for being fat, etc.’ It was a most painful segment for Ms. CRANKY to watch but, then, these good people began sneaking up and talking to the daughter and giving her encouragement and even telling her she was beautiful.  It was enough to break Ms. CRANKY’S pushover heart.  Then, the host, John Quinones, a very low-keyed affable guy, arrives on the scene and tells everybody what happened --- that the mother and daughter were actors, etc. and tries to find out why some people were brave enough to intervene and some not?
So, last Friday night Ms. CRANKY saw ‘What Would You Do?’ in the TV listings, and boldly turned it on, the first time she’d seen the show noted in a while and she found some very moving episodes --- a very drunk father about to get in his car with his young son and a drunk father about to let his son, 11 years old, drive etc. and people on the street actually physically stopped him from doing that.
And, a young worker in a supermarket was being verbally brow-beaten by his boss and people walked up and encouraged him and told him he was doing a fine job and some went and reported the unpleasant boss to the owner.
Hey, it makes CRANKY smile to think that there are people still out there who care and are willing to risk putting themselves on the line for another human being.  Congratulations on a very pleasant and revealing show.  It ran on Friday evening last week and probably will again this week.

Hey, Ms. CRANKY thanks you, as always, for stopping by and hopes you have a good and positive week. 

 Monday, January 23, 2012

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Ms. Cranky resolves in this sacred new year of 2012 to be extremely kind and sweet to people --- unless they walk into her bosom while reading their electronic devices.
And, Cranky truly resolves to stop envying thin women, especially those monsters who sit right across from you at dinner and eat everything in sight and when you question --- “do you ever have to diet?” --- they, oh, so casually reply --- “Oh, it’s in the genes, I can eat anything I want’”--- ouii, Well, good for you.  Ms. Cranky’s jeans are spelled with a ‘j’ and are a few sizes bigger than yours!
Ms. Cranky resolves to stop envying people with those big loving families.  Well, who knows how loving they really are?  She hopes a lot and thinks it’s a life’s goal.  But, Cranky has to stop envying those big loving families, you know like those people from Nebraska who walk through Times Square and hook arms?  Hmmm, or, maybe that’s it! --- maybe, in 2012, Ms. Cranky should move to Nebraska!
And, she wants to stop envying women who can wear horribly high heels and not fall on their noses and to stop saying things like ---“their feet are going to suffer in 15-20 years.”  Ouii, okay Cranky vows  to not say anything but still feels their feet will suffer and, maybe, earlier than 15 years.
Cranky resolves to enjoy the moment, the here and now and to ignore things that cause worry --- “will I?, won’t I?, will she, won’t he?, will I get that job?  Will my article be accepted, will the geraniums in the kitchen bloom before Valentine’s and, if so, will the salmon and red come out at the same time and clash?”  
And, to remember that old saying --- that sometimes ‘everything you need is right there around you.’
On this New Year’s Day, Ms. Cranky thanks God once again for some of her favorites --- the chortle of children’s voices and how they look stomping in tall rubber boots; cats, dogs, birds, butterflies; skies, clouds, seas, lakes, swimming pools --- and, horseradish.

Thanks for stopping by.  Happy New Year everybody.
Ms. Cranky
January 3, 2012