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

Green Tablets

Brian's assistant had a flu which she passed on to Brian which he passed on to me.
Last night, I awoke freezing and sweaty-headed from my fever dreams. I remembered that Brian had taken some over-the-counter nighttime cold medication the other night. Something green, maybe. I switched on the bathroom light and rooted around like a eyeless newt for something that seemed appropriate. I found a box of green pills called Tylenol Sinus Night Time. "Brian, did you take Tylenol Sinus Night Time?" I called out from the bathroom.

"Yes," he said groggily.

"Really?" I said. "You took Tylenol SINUS Night Time?"

"Yes," he said again.

"And it worked?" I said.

"Yes," he said again.

So I went to the kitchen, poured some orange juice, then downed two Tylenol Sinus Night Time tablets. When I got back into bed, I said, "The Tylenol Sinus Night Time really worked?"

"What?" Brian said.

"Tylenol Sinus Night Time? Did it really work when you took it the other night?"

"I never took that."

"But you just told me you did?"

"No, I didn't," he said.

"Then what did you take?"

"I didn't take anything," Brian said, turning away from me and pulling up the covers.

"But I saw you," I said. "I saw you the other night. You took two green tablets."

"No I didn't," Brian said sounding exasperated. "Why don't you just check the email."

"What?" I said.

Brian turned back towards me, a little confused and self-conscious. "Oh," he said, "Never mind." Then he turned away from me again and fell asleep.

I have been searching for flights back to Florida for Passover, but they all appear prohibitively expensive. I was talking with my father on the phone this evening, and he said, "Well, we would really like to spend Thanksgiving with you."

"Passover," I said.


"It's Passover. Not Thanksgiving. You said Thanksgiving."

"Oh, did I?" My father chuckled. "That's funny. Your sister corrected your mother on that same point last night. It appears as if your mother and I both think it's Thanksgiving."

"Well," I said, "Passover is kind of the Thanksgiving of Jewish holidays." I thought about it a little. It was not an exact match, of course, but one does give thanks for being led out of bondage in Egypt and being given the Torah and then Israel, which would then be taken away again, etc.

Then I noted to myself that the secular gentile holiday of thanks is called Thanksgiving, while the Jewish holiday is called Pesach, or "Pass over", as in "Thank you God for passing over the houses of the Jewish people and sparing them when you were going around slaying the all the first born."

On Thanksgiving we say, "Thank you, God, for this great bounty." On Pesach, we say, "God, if you had only led us out of Egypt, it would have been enough. If you had only given us the Torah, it would have been enough. If you had only done a little, it would have been enough. Really, you didn't have to do so much."

Every year, Jews remind each other that if you really want to thank someone, you should flatter them by telling them they didn't have to do so much. It would have been enough if they'd done just a fraction of what they did.


Once, a friend of ours was driving us home while we were in the greater D.C. area. Brian and I thanked him profusely and kept saying, "Really, you don't have to take us all the way back to the apartment. We are so thankful and you have done so much. You can drop us off here in this vacant lot."

Our friend, who not Jewish, said, "Really? In this lot?"

And since we are both Jewish, Brian and I continued, without being able to control ourselves, "Sure. This lot looks very safe and we don't see any muggers or coke fiends around. And it's only two-thirty in the morning."

"Really?" our friend said.

"ABSOLUTELY." We said, panic-stricken. "You've really done enough." We were almost pleading now. "Please don't drive the extra half mile to the apartment. It's not that cold for February, and we could use the walk. You've done so much already, and I doubt we'll get murdered."

Our gentile friend dropped us off in a vacant lot in the middle of the night in February, just outside the District, and we both walked a half-mile home in the night in the dark, unable to figure out what we had said wrong.


Though I do not like the cold, I like the heat less.
In South Florida, where I grew up, that's mostly what we had. Heat. In October and November it is hot. From December to February it is mild. March and April are hot again. And May through September are excruciatingly hot. Or at least this is how I remember it.

Still, it is almost April in New York, and I am very ready to stop wearing my winter coat (whose lining is rapidly disintegrating). Yesterday, we walked across the park to meet Marc and David for brunch (they were visiting from Orlando) and it was sunny and clear out and I actually got sweaty. I took off my hat and scarf and coat, and remembered again how gross it is to feel hot.

When we got back from brunch, Brian and I decided to go for a jog along the East River. Brian put on sweat pants, but I just wore running shorts and a sports bra. "You're going to be cold," Brian said. But I told him it was sunny and clear and that I had gotten sweaty just from walking through the park, so I would certainly be hot if I were jogging and dressed more warmly.

Brian was right.

By the time we got outside, the sun had absolutely disappeared. The sky was the color of concrete and the wind was blowing. After five minutes, I could no longer feel my hands. Other people were jogging or cycling or strolling along the East River, but they were all wearing long sleeves or hooded sweatshirts. Or winter coats. After ten minutes I realized that not only was I extremely uncomfortable (my arms were now completely numb), but I looked like an aseasonal asshole. I was that person. That person who runs around in shorts and a sports bra even though it's 40 degrees and windy outside. That person whom I have always despised. I was she. Running around in my little shorts and sports bra, chicken white and winter flabby, numb from fingers to shoulder.

One good thing that came from feel so ridiculous and being so uncomfortable was an incentive to jog quickly.

The 18th of this month marked my grandmother's 87th Birthday.
So I made her this card.

Recently, I was on the subway on my way to work when I noticed that the man across from me was both sleeping and very fat. He was very heavy, indeed, but his legs were really very fat. Really. Like he had to have special jeans made for his unusually proportioned very gigantically fat legs. I couldn't stop staring. I looked up again at his sleeping, mouth-agape face. Yes, he was heavy. But (looking at his be-special-jeans-ed legs) his legs were definitely disproportionately large. Yes. They really, really were. I couldn't stop staring, but luckily, he was asleep. How odd, I kept thinking to myself, And where does he get his jeans. I am not so fat, and I have a hard time finding pants that fit.

The train stopped at Bowling Green, and the man with the fat legs continued to sleep. I got off. As I made my way up the stairs and out of the subway, I noticed the man in front of me had really, really long feet. I mean really long. So much so, they looked like flippers. Or clown shoes. But they were dress shoes. And he was dressed nicely in a nice looking suit. He was well-groomed and professional-looking, including his professional-looking dress shoes, except that they were extremely long and thin. I mean really truly long.

I watched this man make his way up the stairs, and I continued to follow him in the wrong direction for a short while. I wanted to see if the ends of his shoes appeared to have feet in them, or if his shoes were really some sort of weird business clown shoes.

There is so much available in New York City -- things I'd never even dreamed of. Waiters will sing to you and dance on the table, people will deliver videos right to your apartment. There are gyms here just for dogs. Maybe there are business clowns. Maybe people dress up in nice-looking suits and ridiculously long business-looking clown shoes. Maybe their attachés are filled with colorful balloons and those cans with the springy worms inside. Maybe really slick fortune 500 companies have these business clowns come and mix things up to improve morale or do Powerpoint presentations concerning productivity or diversity training.

It could be.


Or maybe the man just had ridiculously long feet.

A guy with disproportionately fat legs and another with incredibly long feet. On the same train. Wow! Only in New York.

The lights were already out, and Brian and I were having that nighttime conversation which eventually drifts into sleep. We were talking about a phone exchange we had had earlier in the day while we were both at our respective work places. I said, "But you don't usually think of me when you're at work, right?"

I couldn't make out Brian's expression in the dark, so I jabbed him in the ribs and said, "Do you remember that fight we had when you said you didn't really think about me during the day when you were at work? What was that? Six years ago? Do you remember that?"

Brian grunted mildly.

"Do you remember that?" I said, jabbing him again. You said you didn't think about me while you were at work."

"Of course I remember it." Brian said, recoiling a bit. "We had a big fight. We were in Bageland. And you started to cry. Then Dave and Heather walked in, and it was awkward. I had two bagels melted with Swiss cheese and tomato. Can you believe that? I used to order two bagels. And I was thinner than I am now."

"I can't believe you just segued into bagel melts."

"I still don't like Munster cheese." Brian said. He would always get his melts with Swiss and I would get mine with Munster. "I didn't used to like olives," he said. "I didn't used to like mushrooms. I didn't used to like peas. I like them all now. But I still don't like Munster cheese. I don't know how you can eat it."

"Well, I can't believe you like Parmesan," I said. "It's so stinky."

The room was dark and quite. Somewhere in the city, a car alarm went off.

"Even fresh Parmesan?" Brian said.

"Fresh Parmesan is okay. But the processed stuff is gross."

The light in the apartment diagonally across from our window went on, but I fell asleep before I could catch a glimps of anyone moving around inside.

This afternoon, I did this.
A few nights ago, I had planned to make a salad. I purchased vegetables and some ginger salad dressing from a vegetable market near our apartment. When I got home, I opened the dressing, and as I was twisting the cap off, I heard a hisssss, like when you open a container of something carbonated. I though it odd.

So I stuck my pinky in to see if the dressing tasted okay. Did it taste a little rancid? I looked on the label. It was called "Tangy Ginger Dressing." Yes. It was certainly tangy. I stuck my finger in again. Very tangy. Too tangy. One more dip. Nope. Not tangy. Definitely rancid.

I loosely screwed the top back on and left it in the sink. As I was cutting up vegetables, I noticed the dressing was burbling up and pouring down the side of the bottle as if it were molten.

I decided this was not normal

It continued burbling up, fizzing rancid ginger dressing for the next ten minutes. I panicked. "Shit!" I thought to myself. "Just what I need right now: Botulism."

It burbled up for another half hour. I ran to the phone and called my friend Amy, who is in medical school in Atlanta. When she answered the phone, I said in my most collected voice, "HELP. I'VE EATEN BOTULIZED SALAD DRESSING AND I THINK I'M GOING TO DIE." I told her about sticking my pinky in the dressing, and it burbling up out of the container.

"You're not going to die," Amy said. "Though you may experience a prolonged period of abdominal discomfort coupled with a violent bout of diarrhea and vomiting."

"I might have eaten blotusim."

"You only dipped your finger in twice."

"Three times," I correct her. "It's been 45 minutes now. How long will it take for me to know whether I have food poising?"

"The effects of some organisms can be felt in as soon as an hour. Others take as many as two days."

I could feel the clock ticking. "What should I do in the mean time?"

Amy suggested I drink water and take Pepto Bismol. "But if you start getting very sick, you should not call me. I'm just a student and I'm in Atlanta. You should call your local doctor."

I drank copious amounts of water and took Pepto Bismol. When Brian came home, I told him what happened. He just shook his head and said that hopefully I had learned my lesson and would no longer make him drink milk whose expiration date was about to pass.

This Morning
by Andrea Blanken

This morning I was hit by a mailman on my way to work.
Which is not to say that my way to work is usually without its adventures.
There is the usual 'good morning' to the lovely ladies at MudSpot and all the Cheers-style regulars
Jump over some vomit and smile at the hot-guy-with-the-cute-dog on the corner by Starbucks.
Give a wink to the early-morning-bum.
Try to avoid the guy in my neighborhood I dated last summer.
Incense, urine, freshly brewed coffee.
Mr. Marley sweetly singing thru my ipod in my ear
I felt a bump on my leg
a scream in my ear before I realized it was my own.
I clutched the stranger standing next to me in the sidewalk.
"I'm sorry." "I just got hit by that mailman."
The mailman just yelled at me.
Two strangers yelled back at him as I just walked away,
dust of mailtruck in the shape of a bumper on my leg,
Mr. Marley sweetly singing thru my ipod in my ear.

Our last Ira visit:

[Saturday. Brian and I sit with my uncle in the visiting room of the local psychiatric center. The odor of cafeteria food and ammonia cleaner permiates the room. Uncle Ira is eating fried chicken wings and fried rice. A family of three sits at a table to his left: A middle-aged woman with permed hair and a gravely voice, a middle-aged man with a ball cap and mullet, and a young man, head shaved clean, a tattoo of Yosemite Sam on his arm and an "88" on the side of his skull.]

I gave my letter to the social worker to mail. That was on Monday. On Thursday I spoke to Wes, and he said he still didn't get the letter.

I heard there was a doctor who hired a hit man to kill his partner. To kill his wife. But the hit man, he was really a cop. There was all this evidence against him. But he didn't get no death penalty.

I sent your father a letter too. I gave it to the social worker on Monday. Do you know if he got it?

I haven't spoken to my father in a few days. I'll ask him.

Ask him if he got my letter.

The last time I heard from her, she told me she was a waitress. In a topless bar.

I sent Wes a letter on Monday. I spoke to him on Thursday, and he still hadn't gotten it. I think they're holding my mail. That's illegal. It's a federal offense.

I was watching a show on the TV the other night. They have genetic proof that Custer's last stand was different then they said it was.

When Mother came last time, I ate too much. I had three servings of beans. I didn't feel full, but I was up all night. I was tossing and turning, and finally, at about two in the morning, I went down to the nurse. She said she would give me two Benadryl but she gave me Robitussin.

. . . And the Indians, you see, they were all in the town . . .

I told the nurse to tell Mr. Shmimms I was too sick to work. When I saw him on Tuesday, he said he didn't like that I was so unreliable. Can you believe that?

Heather came to visit me about a year and a half ago, and she brought me some stuff from Desert Storm.

So you don't want the camouflage pants?

Naw. I have enough.

Well, we'll keep 'em for you for later.

I mailed your father a letter on Monday. Do you know if he got it?

I haven't been away.
I've been working on my new banner. And on this page, and on this page, which I still haven't quite finished.

I've also been getting letters from you know who.

Here is a picture Brian took of himself with The Gates.

And here is a picture Brian took of me in Florida wearing my $16 skirt.

More later.

I wanted to coin the phrase "low-impact living", but it appears as if I weren't the first person to come up with this.

Most these sites appear to have something to do with plants and/or use the phrase "biodeisel".

I'm thinking more along the lines of coming home, eating soup from a can, browsing the internet, then going to bed. Sometimes you floss your teeth, but sometimes you're just too lazy. You know what I mean. Like really really low-impact aerobics, but with life.

This train is bound for glory. Hop on board!

Brian and I saw the 1927 version of the Jazz Singer on the big screen the other night.

Both Brian and I were taken a little aback by the film. It was so Jewish. Almost every other day in the film was Kol Nidre. Judaism was not overly orientalized or caricatured. Yet, there were bits of dialogue (via intertitles) like this:

Cantor Rabinowitz (Dad)
You dare to bring your jazz songs into my house! I taught you to sing the songs of Israel - to take my place in the synagogue!

Jack Robins/Jakie Rabinowitz (Al)
You're of the old world! If you were born here, you'd feel the same as I do - - tradition is all right, but this is another day! I'll live my life as I see fit!

Cantor Rabinowitz (Dad)
You talk that way to a Cantor - - it's sacrilege!

. . . and . . .

Jack Robins/Jakie Rabinowitz (Al)
I'm doing fine, Papa, and I'm going in a big Broadway show.

Cantor Rabinowitz (Dad)
A singer in a theatre - you from five generations of Cantors!

Jack Robins/Jakie Rabinowitz (Al)
You taught me that music is the voice of God! It is as honorable to sing in the theatre as in the synagogue! My songs mean as much to my audience as yours to your congregation!

Brian and I felt it a bit odd that the movie advocated for a day when secular jazz culture would eclipsed the provincialism of 4,000 years of collective experience. It's true that the Al Jolson character does sing Kol Nidre, but not in that same heroic way people characterize Hank Greenberg's refusal to play on Yom Kippur. In fact, the Al Jolson character doesn't even seem aware that the opening of his big Broadway show is on the holiest night of the Jewish year. What's more, he is dating a shiksa.

Blah, blah, blah. I feel like I'm lecturing. What's wrong with me? Let me switch gears:

There is a big guy who walks through the train as I ride home from work. He is often disheveled-looking and speaks in a booming monotone as he tells us about how we should give him money so he can give out food to homeless people. I always felt he was very irritating to listen to (booming monotone and all) and suspected he might be using the donated funds to buy food for himself.

Today, I saw him on the train again. He looked quite cleaned up, which is to say his shoes were nicer than mine. He started his spiel about about "IF-ANYONE-HERE-IS-HUNGRY-OR-HOMELESS . . . " but then the train stopped, the doors opened, and my friend leaned out an gave a bagged lunch and some chips to an authentic homeless person, saying--perfectly normal-sounding voice--, "Here you go, buddy. Have a great day."

The doors closed and he continued, "IF-YOU-HAVE-A-DOLLAR,-A-QUARTER,-A-NICKLE,-A-PENNY . . ." When he walked by, I put a dollar in his cup. In the same normal-sounding voice, he said to me, "Thanks, darling."

I have started editing a story I wrote to get it ready to send out. This makes me feel good. Like I'm a writer. Because I'm writing something.

Mostly, though, I only write unsexy things like email messages and grocery lists. Sometimes, I eek out a couple of blog entries a week. I write about crazy people I see on the subway or I make fun of my institutionalized uncle. Occasionally, I post pictures of myself and my loved ones.

Often, I think: Why do I maintain a website dedicated to myself? Why do I spend all this time writing about my deranged uncle or the crazy people I see on the subway? Who even cares?

Sometimes I get to feeling quite down. Especially when I see that people have swiped pictures of myself which I have made available on the internet and posted them on some godawful message board where they make snarky captions like "Having a bad day?"

I have seriously considered posting my own witty comments on their boards. Something sassy and acerbic like, "Fuck you, assholes." But then I remember I am as much at fault, as I have posted those picture in such a public place. I get to feeling really stupid when I think about this.

And when I get feeling really really low, I google my own name. Of all the Deborah Schwartzes in all the world -- and my lord! are there many -- I am the one with the biggest google web presence. There is a Deborah Schwartz who is a photographer, a Deborah Schwartz who wrote for Baywatch, a Deborah Schwartz who is the Deputy Director for Education at the Museum of Modern Art, a Deborah Schwartz who is a writer/editor for nerve.com, a Deborah Schwartz who directs community theater. You see, many of us Deborah Schwartzes are arty types. Many Deborah Schwartzes seem to be at least a decade or two older than me and relatively accomplished (maybe not so much the community theater one). And still, it would seem that the only Deborah Schwartz with a fan site (albeit self-generated) is this here Deborah Schwartz. Though I am younger and less accomplished than my fellow Deborah Schwartzes, I still manage to beat them all out in a google search.

If I cannot be famous, at least I can be ubiquitous.

So that's why I keep this site up. Because if I dropped it, I would lose my Blue Ribbon of Most Searchable Deborah Schwartz. I would lose my ubiquity, which is not quite fame, but almost as good.

I must keep up my site to keep up with the Deborah Schwartzes.

Sometimes Brian and I reminisce about earlier times in our relationship.
The other night, Brian said to me, "Remember Guapo's?"

"In Bethesda?" I said.

"Yes. I still think they had the best burritos I've ever had."

"I liked that the burritos came with lots of sour cream and guacamole and stuff."

"Guapo's." Brian sighed.

"Guapo's," I sighed back "And the Greek Taverna."

"Why is it so difficult for people to make a good vegetarian moussaka? We didn't know how good we had it. The Greek Taverna."

"Remember Amirt Palace in Ocala."

"Five times spicy!" We nuzzled a bit, then Brian brought up Bageland in Gainesville, the way they made their tomato and swiss bagel melts. He sighed again, and said, "La Flor."

"It was so convenient."

"We ate there three times a week when we lived in Sunnyside. It was so cheap."

"And their vanilla bean and bourbon French toast. It sounded wonderful. I really should have ordered it," I said. "I hate having regrets."

We were silent for a moment, regret on our tongues. We were both thinking of Golden Wok across the street. It burned down a little over a year ago. The sushi wasn't so good, but it was 50% off if one dined-in. We both grew somber. Brian patted me on the shoulder. "Don't worry," he said. "We'll find another cheap sushi place. And we'll have fun looking."

I brightened for a moment. "That Italian restaurant on Prince Street. They have an amazing pasta with spinach and artichokes and arugula and fennel."

"I loved my goat cheese ravioli."

"Let's go back there soon, Brian."

"Yes. Let's."

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no home-like place
underblog rides again
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puritan blister
this is grand
smartish pace
marc & david
writing right (or wrong)

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bob and david
tim and eric
the lonely island
midnight pajama jam
ovos films
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