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

blizzard 03
blizzard 05

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
new year's 2005
rich turns 30

jenny miller in nyc
lakeland, fla
the unveiling

zina and me
i and the matzo
telegram from fanny
telegram from deb
port authority heights

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


New Yorkers can be nice.
On our way home this evening, we saw a a car trying to pull out of a parking spot. But because the street was icy, its tires just kept spinning. We heard the vrooom of its spinning tires and looked inside to see a woman laughing. Brian and I smiled at her. The woman smiled and laughed.

"You need any help?" Brian asked.

The woman said, "Well, if you want to give me a push . . . "

So we did. Brian and I put our backs into it. But the ice from the street kept me slipping every time I tried to push hard, and the strength from my tyrannosaurus rex like arms kept me from being a formidable force.

"You need more help?"

A random guy with a backpack came up and started pushing as well. The car vrooooooommmmmed and was on its way, the woman waving out the window in thanks. The guy with the backpack walked on in front of us without saying a word.

Brian and I have a joint credit card account. We received our monthly statement today, and spotted erroneous charges on Brian's side of the account. I called the credit card company and proudly read off the charges as if I were turning in a suspected murderer. They said they would cancel his account and issue him a new card.

Shortly thereafter, Brian picked up the credit card sitting on the coffee table and said, "Let's see if I can bend this in half."

He was successful. It was only after he had destroyed the card that he realized it was my card.

I think I need to attend anger management classes.

Happy Liberation of Auschwitz Day!
Heck's Kitchen wants you to write a story.

And guess who sent Brian another letter. This is getting a little freaky.

I think I want everyone to write a story too. If you're not too busy, write a brief story in which one of your characters is our beloved criminally insane epistolary friend, Clark Kent. It doesn't have to be set in the lunatic asylum. Email your story to me and I will post it on this site as long as it doesn't slander or defame me. First place winner gets a digital image of my uncle at his bar mitzvah. Runners up get a picture of a dead squirrel.

Enter now. You have nothing to lose, and fame and a picture of a dead squirrel to gain.

Our apartment building has a lending library of sorts.
There is a rickety bookshelf in the corner of laundry room, and it is packed with mostly old textbooks and Harlequin romance novels with titles like "Sweet Sacrifice" and "Agenda: Attraction." There are also occasionally video tapes of old horror movies. Brian and I have deduced that these unusual items must be donated by a certain fellow in our building who had introduced himself to us as a film reviewer. Once, when we bumped into him outside the Duane Reade, he went on to say he reviewed mostly old horror films.

When he is not reviewing films, he can often be seen coming and going with a random dog. One morning I saw him leave with a white poodle. In the afternoon, he was walking a German Shepard. I was a little baffled by this, and asked how many dogs he kept in his apartment. He told me he was a professional dog-walker.

"But you walk all the dogs individually?"

He smiled at me as if he were speaking to a gentle retard. "All my clients get special attention. I treat each client as if it were my own."

On Sunday, while we were quasi-hold-up in our apartment, Brian ran down to the laundry room and came back with The Student of Prague. This German film from 1913 is one of the earliest early horror films, and tells the story of a student in Prague who falls in love with a Komtesse and sells his soul to a mysterious money-lender named Scapinelli. Horror ensues. The film was possibly made in a time before anything very horrible happened, which would account for its general lack of scariness. Brian and I spent the better part of the movie trying to decide if the devil-like money lender was an anti-Semitic character.

The film has one special effect. It uses the double-exposure of the protagonist to create the ghostly effect of having the character and his image (i.e. his soul) together in the same room. But this was mostly lost on us, as the quality of the VHS cassette was so poor, we could not recognize the two blurry figures as being played by the same actor.

Brian returned the film to the basement, and when he came back into the apartment, he said, "I hope you don't mind that I borrowed another movie." I asked what it was, and he held up the video triumphantly, saying, "The Student of Prague" . . . 1926!"

By the way, today is the third anniversary of our marriage. We grow old.

One last thing: Co-worker Julian outed our co-worker Rebecca as keeping a secret blog. So I'm going to pile on. Enjoy!

It snowed.
Work was cancelled. Hallelujah! Here are some pictures.

Several days ago, a woman sitting on the bench in the Museum's lobby asked me a question. As I approached her to answer her question, she shrieked, "Get your hands out of your hair!"

Soon after, she apologized for shrieking at me, and explained that she too once had the similar bad habit of twirling her hair with her fingers and picking at her split ends. "It's a nervous tick," she said. "You have to really work to conquer it."

"How did you do it?" I asked.

She put her hands out for my inspection and smiled. "Now I bite my nails."

I've made up a couple of charts.
They are rudimentary, but they were created to illustrate the difference in the way my time has been allocated before and since I started my new position at the Museum.

This is before.

And this is since.

Today, received this email to my debcentral email account:

Journal of Pragmatics
University of Southern Denmark,
Odense University
Institute of Language and
Campusvej 55
5230 Odense M

Dear Deborah Schwartz,

We are writing to you regarding the article JoP 903 by Claudia Bubel: "An audience-centered model of film discourse. The article was sent to you in July 2004. However, we have yet to hear from you.

It would be greatly appreciated if you could submit your report as soon as possible as the author is anxiously awaiting news on the status of this manuscript.

Please excuse this email if it should cross a report already sent by you.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,
Inger Mey
for/Jacob Mey

So I wrote back:
Dear Inger Mey,
I believe you have the wrong Deborah Schwartz. Good luck in finding the right one.
Later, Brian and I had dinner at 104th and Lexington. We were having cheap Mexican food in Spanish Harlem. Our waitress authentically spoke no English. And my high school level Spanish and wild gesticulations were not enough to communicate my order. Brian ordered a Dos Equis and I tried to order a margarita. Our server just nodded her head and shrugged her shoulders. I pointed at the drink section of the menu. I said, "Bebidas? Tiene una margarita?"

She said, "Coca cola?" and then she pointed at the beer section of the menu. "Dos Equis? Corona? Tecate?"

"No, no." I said. "Margaritas? Bebidas? Con alcohol?" She just frowned and shrugged again. "Brian," I said, "How do you say margarita in Spanish?"

Brian just looked at me me incredulously.

"Oh." I felt very dumb. I pointed at the beer section of the menu. "Tecate."

My sister, Ali was just in town.
She's been going on interviews for the 5th year internship of her PsyD program. She had two in the New York City area, and has now moved on to Pittsburgh. I guess Ali was afraid she would not have enough crazy people to talk to in our family alone, so she has chosen to talk to crazy people for a living.

While she was here, she met up with our aunt for lunch. I don't talk about my aunt too much, as stories about Uncle Ira eclipse those of Aunt Florrie.

Florrie is my mother's sister. She is very well-meaning, but likes to call me up and offer me her old earmuffs because she has "outgrown" them.

Ali met my aunt for lunch at a diner near her apartment. Ali said that when the food arrived (a veggie wrap), my aunt said, "Well! They must really like you here. They always give me such small portions, but they gave you a really large portion."

Ali tried to explain that this was probably just the size of the veggie wrap.

"No," my aunt insisted. "They like you. That's why they've given you so much food. They hate me. But they like you. They want to be with you."

The evening before, I met Ali and my grandmother for dinner at the diner across the street from our apartment. My grandmother took out two gift boxes. "I bought you girls a little present," she said. We thanked her. She had given us each a pair of gold hoop earrings. "I noticed," she said, "that you and your sister only wear silver. You probably don't have any gold jewelry. I figured you might need some gold jewelry some day. So now you have some."

This has been a near constant point of discord between our grandmother and us. We both wear silver jewelry. For some inexplicable reason, our grandmother doesn't approve of this. She has been known on several occasions to purchase for us gold jewelry "just in case we need it."

I try to imagine a situation in which we NEED gold jewelry. What would the repercussions be for wearing silver instead? I imagine going on a job interview, and the interviewer says, "I see you are wearing gold earrings. That's very impressive. We like a person who shuns the heady allure of silver for the classy and dependable gold. You've got the job."

Maybe this really goes on in job interviews. But wouldn't know it, because sadly I'm always wearing silver.

I told some coworkers about the gold earing incident, and Rebecca Finkel said the same thing happens with her grandmother. Andrea Blanken said her grandmother has serially been sending her gold bracelets, which she has now strung together to form an interesting-looking necklace. Rebecca Jaffe just frowned. She said, "My grandmother once gave me an extra-large t-shirt with a picture of a duck on it."

I guess gold hoops aren't so bad.

I was waiting on the platform for the train this morning.
I work Sundays now. There was a man on the uptown side of the platform who one could see over the short distance of the empty tracks. I wouldn't have noticed him, except that he started shouting things "Awwwwheeee!" and "YOU WANT A PIECE OF THIS!"

Then he pitched some invisible baseballs across the platform. He performed a series of elaborate kung-fu moves (complete with kung-fu noises). Then he screamed to the downtown side of the platform, "WHAT?!? YOU NEVER SEEN A N---- BEFORE?"

An uptown train finally pulled into the station. I could see him get on through the train's window. He sat down next to a woman. He looked placid and quiet, through the frame of the train window, like I were watching him on TV. He looked entirely normal. The train pulled out.

On the way back home, I sat diagonally across from a sad-faced woman with gummy blood-shot eyes. I looked up at her, and the phrase, "Eyes like old soft grapes" came to me. I thought about it and looked up again. "Old soft grape." Yes. This woman's eyes were like old soft grapes. Eyes like old soft grapes.

I looked away.

Then I looked back. Old Soft Grapes. Yes. That's exactly what they looked like.

Away. Back. Old Soft Grapes.

Brian met me at the platform of the Brooklyn Bridge stop, and we sat together on the train. The woman diagonally across from us was speaking to us. "Can you tell me," she was saying, "if this train will take me to 72nd Street?"

Old soft grapes. I was taken aback by the fact that she could talk. And here she was, asking me a question. Old soft grapes. That's all I could think about as I looked at her. "Yes," Brian said. "But you need to switch to the local at 42nd Street." Old soft grapes.

"72nd?" she said.

"Uh, 77th." Old soft grapes. "Or 68th." Old soft grapes.

"I should switch to the local at 68th Street?"

Old soft grapes.

"Yes." Old soft grapes. "Thank you." Old soft grapes. Old soft grapes. Old soft grapes.

At 42nd Street, she got off the train. Really, though. Her eyes were the embodiment of the phrase, "Her eyes looked like old soft grapes."

I finally posted pictures from New Year's.
More later. Enjoy!

Our surprise house guest left yesterday.
When he got to our apartment, William was disheveled and agitated. He had not slept for 36 hours, had $10 in his pocket, been a little manhandled by New York's finest, and was trying to reunite with a fiancée we did not even know he had. By the end of the day, he and the fiancée were reunited. And all was well, except neither of them knew their way around the city. At one point, William asked which part of Queens our apartment was in.

I purchased for our surprise house guest one of those 3-D crystal World Trade Center memorials on a color-changing light-up base. They sell these keepsakes all over the downtown area where I work. I chose the World Trade Center memorial over the Jesus-on-the-cross and the unicorn-nestling-a-heart. It was a difficult decision.

William and his fiancée Mindy's flight left at 5:30 PM yesterday. We came home to a Polaroid picture of them posing with the World Trade Center memorial tchotchka. There's writing on the picture, but I'm not sure what it means. Still, it was an awfully nice gesture.

I think two jobs are too much for me. I feel very very tired.

Happy Birthday, Year!
Alison Adleman came with us to celebrate the passing of 2004 with coworker Julian Voloj and his wife Lisa Keys. Julian's parents and brother, who were visiting from Germany, were there too. I took pictures, but they are still inside my camera. I do have this image, in which I am appropriately dressed to ring in 2005.

The wild New Year's celebrations continued with a New Year's Day trip to see Uncle Ira in the insane asylum. Though my uncle drooled and snotted as per usual, he was more sedate, and our visit only lasted an hour and a half. Pork Lo Mein.

My uncle was unhappy that our visits were moved from Sunday to Saturday (I now work on Sundays). My uncle said, "But I do my wash on Saturdays." I told him that one of the conditions under which I would be promoted to my new position was that I had to assume a Sunday to Thursday work schedule. He said, "Couldn't you tell your boss you can't work on Sundays because your uncle does his laundry on Saturdays, so it's not a good day to visit."

No, I told him, I could not.

On our way back, we took the 4/5 train from 125 Street. We passed a man on the platform who was "freestyling", saying things like, "There's a lady over there in a yellow coat. . . " As we walked passed him, I saw him eye me angrily and say, " . . . And what's up with those fucked up ponytail things?"

I looked around me. I was the only person on the platform wearing what might be conceived as "fucked up ponytail things." I thought they looked fine.

Anyway, I like when random people insult me. And I enjoy spending my New Year's Day watching my uncle drool over an order of pork lo mein. And I like having dinner with my grandmother afterwards, watching her berate the waiter for putting onions on her salad. Then going to work on a Sunday, while my husband is at home entertaining an old roommate of his who turned up at our doorstep early this morning broke, bloodied, his backpack lost, his flight postponed until early the following morning. I asked our surprise houseguest if he would like to come down to my museum today and learn about the Jewish people He just laughed. I think he thought I was joking. This is my life.

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