the history of debcentral



clare & stephen
amy & scott
andrea & jonathan marc & liza

grandma's window
state of mind


hair issues:
my pink hair mistake
my purple hair mistake

chinatown/little italy
thanksgiving 2003

moving day
our new digs
garden of stones

eleanor turns 26
deb turns 27
deb's birthday collage
jenny miller in nyc

zina and me
our ira visit
gators v. vols
ny state drivers license

Punch Lines

My flight leaves from JFK at 8:15 pm.
This internet access thing is always a problem when we're in Clearwater. Oh, well.

My grandmother has been on the internet more than usual. She seems to think of her computer as a Funny Joke machine. She gets forwarded jokes from various family members and friends, then she prints them out, reads them, cackles, and places them in a stack on top of her radiator. Every so often, when Brian and I are visiting, she makes us sit down for an hour and go through the stack of printed-out forwarded jokes. My grandmother's sense of humor is a bit blue, and it can be uncomfortable to have her standing over you as you read about the follies of a young couple or a man who has just been granted three wishes.

Because life is short, I will post only the punch lines of three jokes she has recently forwarded me.

In the end the woman gets all annoyed and asks: "Are you gonna bite them or what?"
"Nah", he replies. "Too expensive."

"Soma day you gonna coma home and maybe finda you wife in bed with another man. Whada you gonna do then? Pointa to da watch and say, ... TIMES UP!"

It is better to say "I'm fine" with a grin, than to let people know the shape we are in.

I do want to mention that I got an email a little while ago from someone identifying my random person in Bhujahpidasana. Christine writes: "Just wanted to tell you your random person is Yannis, owner of Tejas Ashtanga Yoga in Houston, TX." Thanks, Christine, for keeping me honest.

So, if I don't see you all before January first, Happy 2004 and Stuff!

I might have been bored this weekend if it hadn't been for Kevin deYoung.
Brian is still in Florida. Actually, so is Kevin, who I actually know from high school. Once, Kevin, my sister, Brian, and I all dressed up in wigs and funny clothing and drove to a video store 30 minutes away just to rent the John Waters film Female Trouble. Six and a half years later, Kevin is still employing guerilla tactics to "keep it real." He discovered a way to use the internet to abuse a system developed for the deaf. He had an operator call me and say things like "poo poo pants." I just listened and giggled for half an hour. This is what happens when you forcefully refuse to grow up.

Besides being immature, I went to the movies alone this weekend. It was actually very nice, something I hadn't done since college. I went to the Film Forum to see Modern Times. This was on Saturday night, but there were very few people in the theater. There was a row of youthful folk in front of me, and I think they were all high. The movie was very cute, but each time Charlie Chaplin fell over or knocked into something, the entire row broke into uproarious and prolonged laughter. And one of the girls in the party had a slinky which she played with throughout the entire movie. If I had had popcorn, I would surely have thrown it at her head.

When the movie was over, I left the theater and took the subway home, like a person alone. At first I was feeling a little down. But then I got the call from the operator, a sadly humorless woman, who wanted to know if I'd accept a call from my friend Kevin, a deaf person with a text phone. Oh, vice!

On Sunday, I went to Brian's grandmother's unveiling ceremony. She died last March, and while it was not a joyful ceremony, it was done very nicely. And it's always pleasant to see family, even if they are not technically your own.

I keep getting funny emails about Jews going to Chinese food and movies for Christmas. By the way, did I say that I worked on Christmas. I was here, and the Museum, being Jewish and working on Christmas day, which I didn't mind, because I didn't have anything better to do. And the record, both my cubemate Mike Thompson and I got long underwear for Hanukah.

Tomorrow evening, I will be leaving for Florida. That's where I will be for New Year's Eve. I'll have my camera. Funny New Year's pictures, here I come!

The games have begun!
By that, I mean I have finally started sending out my holiday cards. A little on the late side, but maybe people will get them before New Years. If not, people can think of them as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day greeting cards.

Oh, by the way, I posted some pictures of Susan's Party.

At lunch, we discussed what Jews do on Christmas Eve. I think it was agreed upon that most Jews go to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and then go to a movie. Because that's what's open on Christmas Eve: Chinese restaurants and movie theatres. And our Museum.

I have a fantasy that I wind up where the lonely people go in all those 1940s movies. The place with the sad crooning music, where I can lean dizzily against the bar with my party hat drooping. At the end of the night, when the beefy bartender is washing glasses, I can point to him, shouting in a gummy voice that I could have been somebody.

This, I think I would do if I were a gentile. But because I am Jewish, Christmas Eve is not a particularly lonely time. It is a night of Chinese food and movies. That's as good a schedule as any.

I only got a few suggestions concerning my holiday card inquiry. My favorite was from Bob Brumfield. Bob, in typical Bob fashion, wrote me this:

what's the photo like? it's all about the photo. for instance, you could have you and bri naked, in a compromising position, and the caption could read "merry XXXmas." i like that. but you're jews, you say? well, how about something jewish like "jesus is the reason for the season" except you could show him horribly gutted on the front of the card, splayed out like an autopsy corpse. the interior could simply read "ha! happy chanukah."
Jenny appears to be on vacation. I miss her.

Brian is off to Florida.
In fact, I guess he's there already. After work on the 30th, I'm going to fly down to meet him. Until then, I'll be bummed out.

Zina came into town ever so briefly We had burritos and margaritas. Zina told us that a construction worker tried to pick her up by using the line, "Hey, Darling, want to go back to my place and reminisce about the old times?"

Brian said he had been in a diner earlier that day, and was waited on by a grizzled middle-aged Russian waitress with dyed-red hair. She was being hit on by a grizzled middle-aged man. The man kept asking the waitress about Opera, saying things like, "I just love opera!" and "I can tell just by looking at you that you opera too."

He continued by telling her he could see she was no ordinary lover of Puccini or Verdi. He bet she loved Wagner. And guess what: He loved Wagner too. In fact, he said, "I'd rather listen to Wagner than sleep with a Rockette." Brian was immediately and tremendously grossed out.

Saturday was the Moroch Family Hanukkah Party, and many pictures were taken. But none of them have been uploaded yet.

Sunday was a trip to visit Uncle Ira. Now that he's in a civil institution, he's got to use a pay phone to make all his calls. So whenever I visit him, he invariably hits me up for quarters. My grandmother won't stand for it. When she finds I've slipped him money, she yells at both of us. So I don't tell her about it. Still, she somehow finds out.

"She knows everything!" My uncle screamed. I said, "Because you tell her."

He swore that he didn't that my grandmother has super human powers which allow her to divine all the naughty things he's been doing. Maybe. But my uncle is also a big blabber mouth and often let's naughty things just slip out during his numerous crazy person rants.

Brian and I gave him two dollars in quarters and two singles. When Brian got up to use the bathroom, my uncle pulled at my shirt. "Listen," he said, "You're my niece. You're the oldest daughter of my only brother. You're living in my apartment, for christsake. We're close, right? We couldn't be any closer."

I had no idea what he was taking about, but because he looked non-threatening, I agreed.

"See," he went on, "We couldn't be any closer. So it's okay if you give me a couple of dollars here and a couple of dollars there."

When he was ready to go back up to the ward, I went out into the hall to get an attendant to escort him back. Just outside the visiting room, an attendant with enormous owl-like glasses and a curly wig a bit awry was dancing. She was saying to another attendant, "It goes: Slide one, and slide two. Left one, and left two. And roll, and roll." Rolling consisted of a hip gyration. "Then back one and back two. Love slide, love slide. And left slide, love slide." I think a love slide was just a deeper lunge. She said she had learned the dance on a cruise and was trying to have it down pat by New Years. She performed the dance again, then said she would take my uncle back to his ward for us.

After Uncle Ira was gone, we packed up our stuff and began heading out. We were stopped by another attendant. She asked me, "What ward is the patient going to?" I told her, then she got on the phone to say a patient needed to be taken back to his ward. She stopped Brian and asked his name, then she got back on the phone to say, "Patient Brian Geller needs to be taken back to Meyer 4B."

Brian and I both screamed.

Irving, the high school intern, gave me a Christmas present.
I feel like crying. It was so nice. He gave my whole department thematically seasonal mugs with bears inside and really nice cards. He has curiously good handwriting for a high school guy. What a swell fellow.

Once, during lunch, Irving told us that he sometimes finds mice around his house. He and his mother have to set traps. I asked if he buried the dead mice, or threw them in the trash, and he said, "I just flush them down the toilet."

"Down the toilet! Won't it get clogged? I think that's illegal."

"Naw," said Irving. "They're little. They're only like this big." He held his hands out to measure about three or four inches. Oh, Irving!

Last night, Brian, Heather Scott, and I rented Days of Heaven. It was really gorgeous and thoughtful and sad in that 1970s-period-film way. We saw it because it was recommended by David Gordon Green, the director of All the Real Girls, another movie I think is just great.

Zina Miller is in town. She has visited us at our humble Museum. Now I must run off and toast to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Winter is Bum Train Season in New York.
That's right. Because of the cold weather, much of New York City's homeless population is forced underground. They give up city streets for subway cars, performing many of their daily activities on moving trains for a captured audience. They can often be seen sleeping, mumbling to themselves, and sleeping. And if you're lucky, you may even catch them defecating.

I'm sorry. I'm being very mean. It's just that yesterday, on my way to yoga, as I was boarding a 1/9 train, I was accosted by a group of commuters holding their noses and waving their hands in the air. I peeked through the window to see what as wrong, and noticed the lights were a little dim. Oh, I said to myself, These passengers must be distressed because the lights are not working or maybe the heat isn't on.

Oh, boy, am I an idiot. Once I boarded the train and the doors closed behind me, I detected the distinct odors of unwashitude, stale-alcoholness, and a little something one might call "poopy-pants."

I realize I am being very immature, but I was severely traumatized by the event. I was trapped on the train with a horrendous odor in a crowded car during rush hour. I finally was able to move into the next car over. But even though I left the offending car, I became convinced that the smell had permeated my being. During yoga practice, I kept having the urge to scream out, "I was trapped in a crowded subway car with poopypants!" I think shell shock induces similar symptoms.

Then, this morning, there was another indigent fellow on my train. He was odoriferous, but luckily not in quite the same fashion as my previous indigent person. But the train was more crowded, and moved slower. And I was all the way in the front of the head car. I did not have it as bad as the fellow next me. Our homeless friend was snoozing, and his hooded head kept flopping over into the middle parts of my neighbor's body. My neighbor first tried to move away, but the train was too packed. After about 5 minutes, he appeared to transcend his corporeal self and staired at the ceiling of the train without blinking for almost 45 minutes while our train inched towards Bowling Green.

Oh, I know how bourgeois I sound, how insensitive. I know. I'm awful. I don't want to be like this. It's only, well, you know, the smell. It was so overwhelming. And during rush hour. Twice. In less than 20 hours.

One last thing: The great debate is on. Brian and I are trying to be good and pleasant and sent out holiday cards. We made the outside of our cards, but cannot agree on the message which should appear inside. Here's where you come in, gentle reader. Send your holiday message suggestions to contact @ If we like your idea, we'll send you a card. Free of charge, yo!

Saddam has been caught. Now what?
Brian found an image of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan holding up a sign in the St. Pete Times online. The sign, vertically, reads B.U.C.S. Horizontally, it says, Bless the USA for Capturing Saddam. Brian said this is why he loves Florida.

Then Brian suggested that we give Saddam a General Zod like trial. He felt it appropriate to imprison Saddam in whirling hula hoops, like they did in Superman.

Brian has one more final to go. I've been a bit busy lately. I forgot to mention that on Monday night, I went with Eleanor to see the premiere of Belle, the short film by Ruth Sergel in which I play the Hussy. It was wonderful. But I think my non-speaking cameo was somewhat eclipsed by the 4 minute nude scene by the film's octogenarian star. Afterwards, Eleanor and I drank coffee from Krispy Kreme in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel.

Susan Johnson had a Holiday party on Saturday. It was very enjoyable, as are all things involving Susan Johnson. Unlike last year, there were no rollerskate assaults, which I guess is good. Or maybe we just left too early. I took a whole bunch of pictures, but as usual, I'm being slow getting them posted.

I am going to abandon that new piece I just wrote. At least for a time. I've started something else. It's thoroughly non-fiction and is written in the third person, which I like better anyway. I've named my protagonists Molly and Ted. I like those names. Well, Molly, at least. Ted is a name for an older academic type who wears suede elbow patches on his corduroy blazer. Molly is a hearty name. Like someone with a round face and pig tails.

Deb is the name of someone who is short and dark-haired and a bit frumpy. Google image appears to support my theory.

Believe it or not, I was rejected again.
It is making me feel especially low. I know it's dumb. I sent my list about being 27 to, and they told me they were going to pass on it. I'm actually terrible embarrassed, because when I initially read the email, I read, "I'm going to pass this on." I wasn't sure what that meant, but it sounded good.

Brian read the email over my shoulder and said, "Aw, Hon." I guess I looked too oddly star-struck, so he read it out loud, to express with what he was sympathizing. "I'm going to pass on this, but I thank you for giving me the chance to consider your work."

I was deflated. I examined the words ". . . I thank you for giving me the chance to consider your work" for about an hour. Then I drank two glasses of wine and felt bad about myself.

I also finished my apartment hunting story on Sunday. Brian read it and gave a face like he had accidentally bitten into a rotten tangerine. It's true. It needed a lot of work. And I appreciate his frankness and his candor. But still, maybe he could've waited another 24 hours before making the sour face.

And I am officially 8 pounds heavier than I was a year ago. I feel like someone pumped me up with a bicycle pump. My mother would say that I'm just wallowing in self-pity. She might suggest I wear life like a loose garment. I'm sure she's right.

I'm heading to yoga after work. It's been two weeks. but for one of those weeks, I was in Florida. And then there was that snow. I will pull my tight yoga garments over my e'er growning belly and breathe for a bit. I think that would be a good thing for me right now.

December 7th, 1976: The Day of Infamy.

Sadly, he is studying all day for his final tomorrow. His birthday present from me was a day off from Ira.

My grandmother and I went together to visit my uncle, and my grandmother said such helpful things as: "Shut up, Ira. Shut up. You're acting paranoid. You sound like a jackass. Shut up, or I'm going to walk right out of here and never come back to visit you again."

The chicken or the egg?

Ann Amarga sent me this cute thing, but you'll need sound and Flash. Thanks, Ann.

It looks like a snow globe possessed by the devil outside.

There had been a prediction of 1-2 inches of snow for Friday. It is Saturday afternoon and we are buried beneath several feet of snow. The winds have been gusting over 30 miles per hour. We have a blizzard warning until 6 pm this evening, and I am supposed to visit old Uncle Ira tomorrow. It’s all very complicated.

Brian’s birthday is tomorrow. My younger man will be 27. For sagittariuses, says:

Relationship elevator going up. Today you'll want to spend more time with someone you find special. That's because today the stage is set for your relationships to improve and mature. If possible, try planning something unique with that someone special. And don't let outside influences interrupt your time together.
I think this means that he should ignore the snowstorm raging outside and pay more attention to me. Or he should try to impress me by riding up and down in our building’s elevator. As of yet, he has done neither of these things. Monday (the day after his birthday), is his first final of the season. Poor fellow.

And poor me. I waited until the last minute to shop for his birthday presents and was going to go today. Or is that still Poor Brian, as he is the one who will be out presents?

Yesterday evening, while we were trapped in our apartment, I tried to be constructive. I posted some pictures from Thanksgiving as well as those critters I promised from Jenny and Sarah’s recent trip to New York.

Jenny says she thinks her hair looks bad, but I think she looks adorable. And no one holds a martini as rakishly as Ms. Kitty.

My museum recently hosted a panel discussion of young Jewish writers.
The writers spoke about being young and Jewish, about being Jewish writers, being young writers, and how one effects the other. I listened to each of the young Jewish writers read short passages from their works and speak about their craft and their beliefs, and I kept imagining how I would answer the questions and what kind of piece I would have chosen to read.

I began to get agitated. I could do better than them. My answers would have been funnier. My piece would have been better written. If I were up there, I could be a thousand times more insightful. I would be funny and eccentrically dressed and the audience would have to love me.

But I wasn't on the stage, part of the panel. I was ushering. I have never yet been published. If, like an extra's dream, they had pulled me from the audience to make me a star, I wouldn't even have had anything to read. I haven't been writing. My stomach turned in on itself. Avery and Stacy, who were ushering with me, seemed to be enjoying the program. Or not. But they weren't doing psychic battle with it like I was, heart heavy and face contorted in a freakish and disturbing way.

I rode the subway home with Avery and the Museum's photographer. The photographer commented that she liked my ring, which my sister had bought me, chunky and silver and colorfully rhinestoned. I put out my hands and splayed my fingers. "Have you ever seen such awful hands?" I said. "Short and stubby and a knurled like a troll's."

The photographer held out her own hands. They too were short and stubby. "They're artists' hands," she said.

"Not piano hands."

"Not at all. Are you an artist?"

"No." I turned them over and folded them inside one another. The photographer pointed saying, "Your intuition line is very long."

She told us she once took a class in palmistry. For fun. I wanted to ask her what they said about me. Not that I believed it. But did it mean? When I was in high school, I imagined love would be when a man looked into my eyes and read deep into my soul. But the pull of eyes? Brian and I had been dating for 6 months before he even made a guess at my eye color, and he got it wrong.

"Hazel," I had said. "They're hazel. Sort of greenish brown. Like the color of Cassiopeia. That's a type of shallow-water jelly fish. They're the color of algae."

"Hazel," he said. "I thought they were brown."

My romance with eyes was dead, but when I had held up my hands and said, "Look at them! Look how ugly they are. I have knurled troll hands," Brian grabbed them and said, "I love them. They're beautiful. You have the cutest hands I've ever seen."

What do my hands say? I wanted to ask the photographer, but she said, "When I tell people I studied palmistry, everyone suddenly wants me to read their palms. It's so annoying."

I held my tongue. I changed the subject. I said, "It's like that Myers Briggs Type Indicator test. Everybody's always asking that your Myers Briggs score is."

"They are?"

"I don't know. Maybe. Aren't they? Aren't people always telling you they're ENFJ or something. That's what I am. ENFJ. Extrovert Intuition Feeling Judging. Something like that."

"Myers Briggs?" "You know. That test you take to see what career you're best suited for. MBIT. No. MBTI."

"Oh." said the photographer. "I think I took the test once, but I really don't remember." The train pulled into the Brooklyn Bridge stop. She got up to leave. She smiled at me and waved. I felt like an idiot.

Today, my co-worker Mike bought me an egg and cheese sandwich on a roll.
It looked fine and tasted fine, but I kept thinking it smelled like a hamburger. I got about half way through when it became absolutely repellent to me and I was forced to throw it away.

I wanted to give it away, but I couldn't think who at work would enjoy and half-eaten hamburger-smelling egg and cheese sandwich on a roll. I actually could think of someone who might want it, but he was away from his desk, and I imagined that to peek into a meeting to ask him if he wanted my half-eaten sandwich might be degrading to both him and the sandwich. So I saved us all the embarrassment and tossed the sandwich.

It has become so incredibly cold lately. My nose is constantly running, and the runny nose does not mix well with the cold and windy outer conditions. I suppose I am not the only person suffering.

It has recently come to my attention that it is supposed to snow on Friday. It is December already. I'm just not prepared for all this passage of time.

The flight from Tampa was not an easy one.
Our otherwise “direct” flight was rerouted to Atlanta, where we sat on the tarmac for almost three hours due to an obscure mechanical problem. While we were beached, the pilot would repeatedly get on the speaker to make comforting announcements like, “You see, that temperature thing needs to be sealed. But we’re trying to see if we can get clearance to not seal it, so we can get you into LaGuardia as soon as possible.”

This somehow did not fill me with confidence.

Of course, in our desperation, Brian and I took pictures. They will most likely make an appearance around the same time the Thanksgiving Day shots are up. Stay tuned!

So, Instead of getting into work an hour or two late, I finally arrived at three o’clock this afternoon. To go into work at three seemed silly at the time, but I’m glad I did, as I had about 8 million voicemail messages. If I had waited another day and found 8 million and two messages, I may have jumped out the window.

Pretty good news: I got business cards at work. My first real business cards. They are simple, yet elegant, and they gracefully make reference to my job title and contact information. I no longer have to cross out someone else’s name and write in my own.

Very good news: My New York State drivers license came in the mail today. I must say, I think I took dern smart picture. I was so nervous, after that evil abusive troll snapped the photo. But here, see for yourself. While I doubt I’ll get any modeling jobs from it, it is much better than what I had envisioned, face sallow and contorted in a half-vomit half-strung-out look while my eyes remained eerily closed. No. This is much better.

Thanksgiving was a success.
Even if it involved my getting in a fight with one of my mother-in-law’s friends. This woman insisted that we use place cards, and she had even drawn up diagrams of where all 19 people would be sitting. Seriously. I said, “Naw. We don’t need place cards. People will sit where they want.” The woman agreed, then turned to Brian’s sister, Jessie to show off her masterful seating diagrams.

“Well, I have your mother sitting here and Bill is here and you are here. . . .” I stopped her and said, “Let it be organic. People will find the best place to sit. No one will be left out. She nodded, said, “You’re right, you’re right,” and turned to Jessie again with her sketches and master plan.

I had said they were not necessary, and this woman agreed. Then she turned to Jessie twice right in front of me, as if wanting me to know she was going over my head. So I did what any normal person would do. I got in the woman’s face and announced, “I said, we don’tneed any place cards.”

Apparently some silly fight ensued. No one got “physically” hurt. In the end, Everyone was happy and there were no place cards on the table and I WON.

My parents, sister, and brother traveled from across the state to observe the Thanks with the Geller clan. My parents were in their usual form. At one point, Michael Jackson came up as a topic of conversation. My mother exclaimed, “Oh! What a weirdo!” Then she and my father went into detail about how he and Kobe Bryant are being used by the Republican Party as a smoke screen to cover up the evil actions of the religious right. I thought it was adorable. Most topics of conversation can be traced back to plots against the Democratic Party Then they tell embarrassing stories about myself and my siblings as children. What would I do if they ever changed?

Brian and I finally got to meet Jessie’s boyfriend Tyler. A very nice fellow. We have also had ample opportunity to eat, sleep, and avoid doing anything constructive. The weather has been just gorgeous here in Clearwater, Florida, and we did make an attempt to go jogging. We got about 200 feet down the block, turned around, and walked home.

We have an early morning flight tomorrow. They are very misleading things, these early morning flights. Even though I will be rising at 5:00 AM and at the airport by 6:00, I will still be arriving to work a couple hours late. So everyone will think I’m a slacker, sauntering into work late, but I will be completely discombobulated and unable to focus my eyes properly or adjust to the glow of florescent lights.

the sidebar is open


what's on tap @ heck's kitchen?

vegetarian permalinks

heck's kitchen
loshon hora
george h williams
bloggedy blog blog
smartish pace

place order here:

contact @

Who is Deborah Schwartz?
The experiences of Deborah Schwartz
The persistance of Deborah Schwartz
The relations of Deborah Schwartz