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



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

grandma's window
state of mind


hair issues:
my pink hair mistake
my purple hair mistake
my red hair mistake
my hair and dress mistake

chinatown/little italy
thanksgiving 2003
brian's graduation
dennis's graduation

moving day
our new digs
garden of stones

eleanor turns 26
deb turns 27
deb's birthday collage
susan's holiday party
new year's 2004
rich turns 30

jenny miller in nyc
lakeland, fla
the unveiling

zina and me
i and the matzo
telegram from fanny
telegram from deb

our ira visit
gators v. vols
ny state drivers license
the nobel manatee

Uncle Ira Turns 60

New York City did good this Sunday.
Our friends Heather Scott and Alison Adleman marched along with hundreds of thousands of other anti-Bush protestors this Sunday. They said it was slow going and hot outside, but a lot of fun. Actually, Heather has had one of the naked protestors sleeping on her couch this last week. Itís all so exciting.

What did Brian and I do to show our outrage towards the Bush agenda? We went to visit Uncle Ira in the loony bin for his 60th birthday.

There was no traffic on the way to the institution, no delays getting in. My brother, who also came with us, said he was sure there were many delegates to the convention present. He said, "There are delegates here from Mars and delegates from La-La."

Did I mention my grandmother was there as well? Have I mentioned how my grandmother has the amazing power being able to aggravate my uncle so that he reaches new heights of "raving lunacy"? If I havenít, I am mentioning it now.

I will presently indulge in a reenactment of a short scene between my uncle and my grandmother (please note that all capital letters in dialogue are used to denote when an individual is speaking in an unnaturally loud voice).


Sure. Here it is. [hands over the card]


Iíll give you the card when you've finished eating. So it doesn't get dirty.















I WANT MY BIRTHDAY CARD! [looks sorrowfully at his soggy hamburger]

Hey, Dennis. Did you know that Uncle Ira has been making up his own prayers?

In its own way, our birthday visit with Uncle Ira was like a protest. A protest against quietness, against good manners, against non-bizarrely circular discourse. By the end of our visit, every last synapse of ours was on fire with irritation and disgust. And then we had to get on the M35 bus home.

Now, for the first time, I am making available a single page with links to Sam and my Port Authority Heights ad campaign. Look. Learn. Enjoy.

Sam Neumanís last day at the Museum was Friday.
You may know him for the interview he did with me as household favorite Jackee Harry, or for his insights on film, or as the orange CGI cat who is four feet tall. He is also the creator and promoter of the up-and-coming neighborhood of Port Authority Heights. Together, he and I worked on the following ad campaign

Port Authority Heights: Itís just west of tacky

Port Authority Heights: On a clear day, you can see New Jersey

Port Authority Heights: Go West, Young Man

Port Authority Heights: Write your own West Side story

Port Authority Heights: Temptation waits . . .

Sam is also an individual of boundless generosity. During his last week at the Museum, he gave me this book. I am one lucky girl.

To thank him, I photoshopped his face on Star Jonesís body.

Sam, though you have moved away to the far reaches of lower-midtown, I will always remember you like this.

I think Iíve finally got it.
On the phone, my uncle went over the schedule again for his being phased back into society. It appears as if once a patient is transferred from a criminal psychiatric unit to a civil one, he or she must go through a series of no less than six stages before finally getting released into society at large. The stages as I understand them are:


My uncle has already achieved the first two stages (in green). In 2-5 months, he will be up for the first of the yellow stages. By the time he gets into the ďred zoneĒ, we will be long gone. Interesting enough, we thought this time last year that we would already be in the red zone. Neither Brian nor I had any idea my uncle would have to jump so many hurdles before being discharged and reclaiming his apartment. This news is both good and bad. The visits are seriously wearing on us. With each conversation, I become more allergic to his voice, his logic, his paranoia.

This evening, when he reiterated the steps towards his release, he repeated for the hundredth time his credo:

Bite the bullet.
Turn the other cheek.
Go with the flow.
(and as your father says) Roll with the punches.
Then he told the story of a visit my grandmother paid him early on in his incarceration. He was telling me this to illustrate how unreasonable my grandmother can be. He said, ďShe brought me linguini with clam sauces. She was very jumpy. You know how she is. I didnít say anything, but then she said, ĎOne more word and Iím leaving.í So I didnít say anything. But then I said, ĎYou didn't bring any salt?í and she screamed at me and ran out. They took me back to the ward and they said I could eat my linguini back in the ward, but when I got there, they had thrown it out. Can you believe that? I didnít even get to eat my linguini.Ē

Even though I often think every word out of my uncleís crazy mouth is suspect, the only suspect portion of this story is the part when he said, "I didnít say anything." I have never known my uncle to not say anything. He talks continuously. And loudly. And without any regard for logic. Or the stamina of his audience. And he often speaks with a mouth full of food and a nose dripping with snot.

This apartment. It's so cheap. And on the upper east side of Manhattan. But . . . But . . . Red Zone, come quickly.

Tonight, I practiced yoga near someone who exuded a strange and unpleasant odor
At first, I did not know who it was who was exuding this strange and unpleasant odor. At first, I feared it was coming from my own person. Was it my body? Was it my clothing? Was it my yoga mat? With each new pose, I found an excuse to turn or twist or bend so that I was able to sniff my under arms, my yoga pants, my mat. My "Ashtanga Yoga for Simpletons" practice allowed me to nose many a portion of my body while looking no-less uncoordinated than usual, finally accessing that the strange and unpleasant odor did not appear to be emanating from my person or my personal effects.

While breathing deeply through my nose and wincing, I was forced to turn my hawk-eye on the rest of room. Was it my instructor? Was it the fellow in front of me? What about the fellow to my right? Was it long-time yoga buddy Alison, who was practicing in back of me? Please. Not Alison.

The fellow in front of me finished his practice and left the room. The smell stayed. The instructor stepped out for a moment. Smell remained. Finally, Alison went out to change. Ah-ha! It was the fellow to my right. Ah-ha! Detective Debbie solves the case again!

On our way to the subway, Alison and I spoke of the "issue". We both agreed that it was very hard to concentrate and breathe deeply when every time one breathes in, one smells something malodorous. We are still unsure what has caused the malodorousness of our fellow practitioner. But we did indulge in speculation for a time.

Now, even though Iíve been home for several hours, I still fear I have acquired that strange and unpleasant odor in the way a host finds itself with a parasite affixed to it. This is a persistent fear for me Ė that I adopt noisome smells and make them my own in such a way that I drive away friends and acquaintances. I wonder what it all means.

It probably means I am crazy.

But not as crazy as Uncle Ira. So itís okay, I guess.

debcentral.com turns three!
And here is a lame picture of a birthday cake to commemorate debcentral.com's third year of being.

Three years ago today, Brian and I were still unpacking boxes from our recent move to Sunnyside, Queens. I was unemployed and he had just started law school. Terrorist attacks were still several weeks away. Brian bought me this slick spot on the internet as a graduation present, a place to post my rejection letters, and a way to sharpen my new media skills while I looked for a job

Brian has now graduated law school. I am on my third job -- one which does not in any way employ my new media skills. We live in my crazy uncle's apartment in Manhattan. And we are still not fully unpacked. I have a few more rejection letters, and even one acceptance. We have also now been married for two and a half years, and we even finally went on our honeymoon, not to be confused with our honeymoon.

A big fat special thanks to Heck's Kitchen for egging me on, answering many a dumb question, and generally being good people. Also, a thanks to that weird Christiany kid in the OIT at Maryland who told me that just about anyone could have their own website. Also, to Brian, for never pushing me down the stairs. Also to all the regular and irregular debcentral readers. Even though I only get an email from you guys about every other month, it is that email -- and knowing that someone is reading my crap -- that keeps me going. Even if your email is criticizing me and telling me to get off my "pitty-pot".

Lastly, I would like to end with what appears to be a poem from Niall in Toronto

Hey, I hear Debcentral is gonna
Publish a story.
No kiddiní? Should be good.
Ya. I hear Key Largo was boriní
Aní then she says ďhurricaneÖĒ
Ya. I heard Hitchcock had writers
Block, until Deb says,
ďWhat if she were afraid of birds?Ē
Ya. I hear she rang Papaís bell.
Ya. She put the Bath in Chaucer.
This is gonna be great!
And one last thanks to God, for carrying me when I was too lazy to walk. And to my mother. And America. And to the many people who could not be here with us today. Because they no longer exist in an earthly form. Or maybe because they have yet to be born. Cheers to you all, people of the past and the future! Did I mention God? Hang in there, Baby!

Same shit, different staff party.
Ugh. More too much wine. More dancing. No karaoke, though. Thank god!

Thursday night, I rode home in a taxi with co-worker Rebecca Finkel. I tried to call Brian to tell him I was heading home, but I couldn't find my cell phone. I dumped the entire contents of my purse into my lap, and began fishing though it, but to no avail. I had Rebecca call my phone over and over. In desperation, I shrieked, "IT'S GOT TO BE HERE SOMEWHERE! I CAN FEEL IT VIBRATING!" As it turned out, I was sitting on it. I guess my senses were a bit dulled.

When I got home (around 9 pm), I passed out. Then woke up again at 2:30 feeling a bit icky. I think I'm fully recovered now, though.

Rebecca was obviously a lot better off than I was. Friday morning, I got an email she had sent the night before. In it, she explained she was looking through the inbox of an old email account "at which point i came across this very special rejection letter that reminded me of you." Says Finklel: "Notice below how Cineaste has deemed my submission 'inappropriate' because it is 'not appropriate' !? well that cleared things up for me. one day when i'm famous i'll include this letter and all those like it in my collection of unpublished early essays and articles, Pulled from the Garbage: The Misunderstood and Miraculously Recovered Works of Rebecca Finkel 1999-2000"

See excerpt from rejection email below:

Dear Ms. Finkel,
Please excuse this form letter response to your recent inquiry, but the volume of proposals and/or free-lance manuscripts we receive makes a personal comment on each inquiry or submission impossible. We greatly appreciate your interest in Cineaste and are sorry we can't give you a more positive response. A copy of our Writer's Guidelines is enclosed for your future reference.
. . . .
Our Editorial Board has determined that your proposal or submission has been found inappropriate for Cineaste for the following reason(s):
[ ] Subject matter has already been treated or assigned
[ ] Style of the material is too academic
[ ] Subject matter is too specialized or obscure
[ ] The material is too dated
[ ] Weak social/political analysis
[ ] Weak artistic analysis
[ ] Interview is not the critical, probing style we prefer
[X] Not appropriate for publication in Cineaste
[ ] Too lengthy
Iím glad Cineaste spent so much time crafting a logical and grammatical rejection letter.

Also, thank you to Heckís Kitchen for pointing me to the Weight Watchers recipe cards from 1974 site.

This morning I woke up to a plethora of cockroaches in our tub
They were of different shapes and sizes, ranging from medium-sized to teeny-tiny. There were about six of them in total. I wasnít so sure the medium-sized one was big enough to be the mother of the smaller ones. Maybe it was like an Adventures in Babysitting band of cockroaches, with the oldest being an unrelated teenage cockroach. Nevertheless, I scooped up those wriggling little tub-adventurers with a tissue and flushed them down the toilet.

I hate waking up to cockroaches in the tub. Itís so unsettling.

More reasons why I am a bad person: Last night, as he often does, when Brian served dinner, he put equal portions of food on his plate and mine. And as I often do, I pointed out that we are differently-sized people and therefore need different amounts of food Ė unless he wants us to some day weigh the same, despite the 11 inch discrepancy in our height.

When I serve dinner us, I naturally give him a larger portion than I give myself. Except if, for some reason, he is not so hungry, and I am more hungry. Then I give myself more. And if I only have one piece of gum, I pop it in my mouth and hope Brian hasnít noticed.

I would be a very bad person to have with you on a desert island. Brian would be okay. There would be only one coconut, and both of you would be starving, and Brian would divide it up in equal parts, even if he were a larger person than you. You would still both be hungry afterward, but you would be confident that Brian was an honest and trustworthy desert island ally. But if I were there and I deemed my hunger to be greater than yours, I would hide in the questionable shade of a palm tree and open and eat the coconut myself. And then I would be attacked by a band of medium-sized to teeny-tiny cockroaches. I guess I would have deserved it.

When will this madness end?
Over the weekend, we got a second letter from Clark Kent Ė this one addressed to "Jack Schwartz". We are getting a little nervous.

I spent a large part of my weekend working on a comprehensive format from which to view a vast number of our vacation photos. This page is what I came up with. Beware. The page may take a little while to fully load up. Especially considering that Iíve posted over 60 images (out of 200 or so). Let me know what you think. Iím still checking for bugs.

This weekend, we also visited my uncle again. He proudly told us that at the institutionís Jewish services, which are given on Tuesdays by an orthodox rabbi from Brooklyn, he made up his own prayer. He said that it was divinely inspired, and that he liked it and the rabbi liked it and so did the other lady in services, who, by the way, isnít Jewish. My uncle recited it for us:

May God bless you and keep you. May he shine his countenance upon you and be gracious unto you. May you live a life filled with pleasure and joy and happiness and successfulness and love and happiness. May you be happy and healthy and wealthy and successful and knowledgeable and wise and content. And may your life be filled with appreciation and admiration and no frustration and gratitude and solitude and quietude and joyfulness and pleasure and contentment and happiness. And let us say amen.
When he recited his made-up payer, he got a sort of far-away look in his crazy rolling eyes. As if he was really trying hard to remember the prayer. Or to read it from a piece of paper which was quite a distance away. It was a very long rambling nonsense prayer which employed many of the same words over and over again. I imagine the rabbi was most please to hear it had finally ended. I too was filled with gratitude and contentment when my uncle had finished.

My uncle got one too.
I spoke with my uncle the other night, and he says he got a letter from Clark Kent as well. When pressed to speak of the incident further, Uncle Ira said, "He doesn't know what the hell he's doing. He's incompetent."

The whole "violent crazy person has my address" thing didn't seem to bother him. But, then again, He as spent the greater part of the nearly 60 years of life as an occasionally violent crazy person living among more of the violent and crazy and violently crazy. My uncle spends a lot of his energies pan-handling for birthday cards as well. His birthday is on August 31st. I wonder if he has a new birthday card pen pal?

Before I got distracted by fear of dying at the hands of a violent crazy person who thinks he is Superman, I was going to say that I forgot to post one the our sign pictures. Here is Brian trying not to slip in the pool of non-potable water at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli.

Are you bored yet? Do you want to see more pictures? Because we certainly have more pictures. Here are some images that Brian and I took of ourselves, given to you in alphabetical order of the name I gave them when I saved them to my hard drive: Speaking of the Villa d'Este, here's Brian and me in front of the fountains; Brian and me in front of the ruins at Hadrian's Villa; Brian and me near the ancient Palatine Hill; Brian and me loving life at pompeii; Brian and me being of differing heights at the Trevi Fountain;and lastly, Brian and me obscuring everything else as we vie for supremacy in the Vatican City Museum.

If you still have any energy left, then you can look at this picture of former co-worker Aiesha's baby Zenzele. She is really too much.

My life might be different than yours because criminally insane people write to my husband asking for birthday cards.

After over a year of calling us and leaving messages on our answering machine, Clark Kent has finally taken that first step towards friendship and written Brian a letter.

And here is the envelope in which it was sent. Note the return address. Note the mention of Ward 2 West, home to a number of criminally insane people who have committed "some of the most notorious and gruesome crimes in New York City's history"

Yes, the note appears to be written in that typical crazy person handwriting. And the content seems worthy of the insane, though maybe not so much the criminally insane. I think the letter was addressed to Brian because his name is mentioned first on our answering machine. Seriously. This man has been calling us no less than three or four times a week for almost a year and a half and leaving us messages, which we of course do not return. He must feel very close to Brian's recorded voice saying Hi. You've reached the home of Brian Geller and Deb Schwartz. Neither are home right now, so leave a message.

He even spelled Brian's name correctly. It would be pitiful and cute if it weren't so dern creepy.

Eventually, my uncle will be released from the loony bin. I can't wait to meet his other friends. I'm sure they're all charming.

Last night I had a reunion with a high school friend of mine.
I had not seen Dominic Traverzo in about nine years. He was visiting New York because a short film he had made was going to be screened here. I was a bit nervous, as I had not seen him in nine years, and a lot can happen in nine years.

I started to worry. What if he's overcome with shock because I appear a good deal older? Or heavier? Or more haggard? And he? What if he is now morbidly obese? Or maybe he has a prosthetic limb? Or a disfiguring scar across his face? Nine years is a plenty long enough time to acquire a disfiguring scar that has keloid and set in good.

As it turned out, I recognized Dominic immediately. Because he looked exactly the same. He said, "You know, I've gained 40 pounds since high school." But he looked exactly the same. He told me that though he usually keeps his head completely shaved, he had a little bit of hair growth going on. He looked exactly the same. Dominic's film was very cool, and we had a very nice evening. In the end, I was rather glad he looked exactly the same. He told me that I too looked exactly the same. Our evening, despite the city and the circumstances, was reminiscent to those spent back in high school (by the way, that's Keith Murray on the far left, a random guy we all hated, Molly Hale, Marc Rothschild, and moi).

I am like the proverbial turtle with these vacation pictures. Today, I present you with three pictures of signs we photographed around Rome. The first one we saw at the Villa Borghese Gallery. The second we saw in Vatican City. The third was in the subway. And the last is a movie poster for the movie You Got Served, which apparently translates into "Street Dance Fighters" in Italian.

Okay. That's enough merrymaking for today.

We're back.
I hope we were missed. But the three and a half hits this site got during the time I was away would suggest otherwise.

Pictures, pictures, pictures. We took about 200 pictures during our trip. This was because we were afraid someone might mistake us for not tourists. In August, Rome is the City of Tourists. Tourists from all over the world could be seen taking pictures of each other with their hands on the naked rumps of ancient statuary, with their head's propped up on the headless necks of marble Venuses and Apollos. Every irreverent thing one could imagine taking a picture of in this ancient and artful land, some other tourist had already thought of, and was already doing. This made me annoyed. As a reaction to this, most of our pictures were ir-irreverent. That means they were almost reverent. It was unnatural for me to be this way, but it would have been even more unnatural for me to wait in line behind four other chuckleheads to pose with my arms around a water-spouting sea nymph or giving a thumbs-up to a Jesus on the cross.

I wouldn't say I am necessarily jet-lagged, but I would say I am a bit discombobulated. Nutella. Gelato. I miss you. Come back to me.

I have only five pictures for you today. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. I will get more up soon.

In the first picture, I am posing (not ir-irreverently) with the legendary "Dancing Fawn" of Pompeii. In the second, Brian is photographed with one of the many instances of anti-Bush graffiti we found in around Rome. In the third, I can be seen with my two favorite beverages: water and wine. I am so biblical. In the forth, Brian can is sitting under Bernini's statue of an Elephant with an obelisk on his back. We got in a big fight right after this picture was taken. The last picture was taken by a random at Hadrian's Villa. I did not mean for the marble tush to be so close to us. That was totally the random's doing.

One last check-in to say hi.
I think we are set with souvenirs and we have eaten enough gelatto to kill a horse. I am hoping the enormous amount of walking we've been doing will keep us from blowing up like the fat pasty Americans we really are.

Today we got lost among the ruins of the Palatine Hill and visted the main synagogue of Rome, where I bought two broken Havdalah candles by mistake. Now we're going to make one last go at visiting the Shelley/Keats museum, which promises to be small and not-thrilling.

I am soooo tired.

Ciao. Until we're back in Americay!

I just realized today that this has been the longest Brian and I have ever spent together without friends or family in the seven years we've been together. This means that we have been bickering a lot. A LOT. But we are getting along presently. Which is nice.

The space bar on this keyboard isn't working so hot. I just moved from a computer where the shift key wasn't working. I am getting very annoyed.

Now I think the backspace isn't working very well either. ARG!

Tomorrow is our last day in Rome. We have been doing the mad dash for souvenirs. All of the touristy kiosks are lousy with bum gifts. Postcards and mugs and Pinocchio figurines and men's boxers with pictures of the special place of famous naked statues printed on them. I don't know anyone who would want any of the above mentioned items. So I thought I would just buy everyone Italian grocery items. I wonder if I have to declare olive oil and coffee to U.S. customs.

Yesterday we visited Pompeii, which was hot and dusty and filled with dogs. I started taking lots of pictures of the dogs, because I thought it would be funny. Then I thought that maybe a nice souvenir would be a "Dogs of Pompeii Calendar" which I could create on my arrival back in the states. Maybe. Maybe not.

Today we visited scenic and ancient Tivoli. Just about Everything in Italy appears to be scenic and ancient. That's more than I can say for New York. Before we visited scenic and ancient Tivoli, but after Brian and I got into a big fight (during my mad dash for souvenirs), I went into a Benetton store. This is apparently sale season. Nearly everything in nearly every store is on sale. So after Brian and I got into a big fight, I ran into a Benetton store where nearly everything appeared to be on sale, and I tried on a top. It was hot out. And I realized after I was returning the top to the rack that I had sweated all over the back of it. So I was forced (out of shame) to purchased it. Only as I was purchasing the top did I realize that the women working in the store were too busy smoking cigarettes to care that I had sweated on their sale items. I am dumb.

Okay. These broken keys are annoying me too much. I's time for dinner anyway (10:15 pm). So goodnight for now. I'll see you back in America, unless the customs agents haul me off for grocery smuggling.

Just checking in again
Because I love you. And because I want to make sure you didn't invite your friends over for a party and wreck the house while I was away.

FACT: It is very hot and muggy during the day. But at night and in the morning, it is actually quite pleasant.

FACT: Food for vegetarians is not all that hard to find. I am not getting any smaller while I'm here in Rome.

FACT: Due to the weakness of the American dollar everything here is expensive. Thank you, President Bush.

FACT: Our hotel room is bigger than our apartment.

FACT: Almost everything in the Vatican City gift shop has a picture of Jesus on it.

FACT: There is tons of old shit here. And inside the old shit, there is often someone selling small new replicas of the old shit.

Until next time, Over and Out.

We made it!
It is HOT out. I am writing you from the computer terminal in an airconditioned book store. The reason I came into the bookstore in the first place was because it was airconditioned.

The keys on the keyboard are in funny places here in Italy. And everything is very expensive. But we haven't even been here a day.

A real dialogue between my husband and myself:

ME: Take a picture of me in front of this old shit. (Brian snaps picture) Let me see. (looking at picture) Hey, there's just some trees in the background

BRIAN: I did what you told me.

ME: I don't see any old shit in the background.

BRIAN: What old shit?

ME: I SAID take a picture of me in front of the old shit.

BRIAN: Where is there old shit around here?

ME: HELLO! Look around. (waving arms like a maniac) This is all OLD SHIT.

BRIAN: It's just bricks and shit. It's not OLD SHIT.

ME: Gimme my camera back. I'll take the picture of myself myself (snatches camera from husbands hand and takes picture of herself for a change).

Please excuse my many typos. I can not easily do editing here at this bookstore/internet cafe/airconditioned place.

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